Up on the Ridge: Charles Wright’s Childhood Home in Kingsport, Tennessee

Rising above the city of Kingsport, Tennessee, Chestnut Street provides some of the finest winter views in all of Sullivan County. Old Stage Road belts across the top of the ridgeline, and to the north Clinch Mountain dominates the scene as it hangs over a valley peppered with outlines of farmsteads, church steeples and shops, and the ever-present billow of Tennessee Eastman’s chemical plant. On the other side of the road, looking south toward Washington County, the scene drops into an undulated map of brown hills, interrupted with neighborhoods and fields. In the distance, back walls of the Blue Ridge stand up and highlight familiar profiles of Holston and the Iron Mountains along with the high knob of Roan Mountain, fading deep against the horizon. It is a beautiful place, and driving along the ridgetop it is easy to understand how such a scene could infuse itself into one’s personal geography, locking down the landscape for a lifetime. As I drove along Old Stage Road in December of 2014, I was searching for more than views, I was hunting down memories; however these were not my own recollections, but the memories of another, a renowned writer who grew up along this lane seventy years ago.

Subscribe to read the full text.

Scott Honeycutt grew up in Virginia and Tennessee. For many years, he taught high school English south of Atlanta before earning a Ph.D. in American literature from Georgia State University. He is an Assistant Professor of English at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. When not teaching, Honeycutt enjoys walking the hills of Appalachia and spending time with his family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *