Adams, Tennessee is a tiny town in NW Tennessee not far from the Kentucky state line. If you’ve ever heard of Adams, it’s probably because of the Bell Witch legend, which is an allegedly true story that occurred in Adams in 1817, 200-years ago at the time of this video.
This video is a quick walk-around the abandoned old downtown area of Adams, which is a few miles from the old Bell family homestead where the bewitching occurred. (I apologize in advance for the poor audio quality. Mic failure!)
I’ve researched its history and photographed downtown Adams several times, and although I don’t know much about these decaying and abandoned buildings, here’s what I have learned:
The old United Methodist Church
This old Methodist church is in a very bad state of disrepair. I once posted a photo of this on my Facebook page, and someone commented they had been married there (I think she said it was in the 1980s). The first time I shot this building, a very upset Mockingbird on top of the building was giving me a very shrill warning to stay away from her property.
The J.E. Winters Co. Dry Goods Building
This is a two-story red brick commercial building completed in October 1897 (See the date on the Masonic stone in the video). The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville featured a news item regarding this business in November, 1899: “A stave factory, conducted by J. M. Wilder, will be in operation at Adams in a few days. J. E. Winters, a leading dry goods merchant of the town, has taken the contract to furnish the white oak timber, a large quantity of which has already been hauled to the lumber yard.”
Robertson and Co. and abandoned storefronts
I haven’t learned anything about this collection of three buildings, which I would guess were built between 1890s and the 1920s. I did hear from the mother of the young man who tagged the Kerouac quote onto the wide brick side of the Robertson and Co. building. She thanked me for photographing and preserving his work, since he has apparently passed away at a very young age. That white spray paint quote seems to be one of the most photographed parts of downtown Adams, along with the Methodist Church.
Here is the quote attributed to Jack Kerouac: “In Autumn Geronimo Weeps — No Pony with a Blanket.”
Fine black and white photographs of Adams, Tennessee