Work By Joe Kilday
Figures In History
Of Greene County
BY KATHY KNIGHT
Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam are hosting their second annual "Tennessee's Home for the Holidays" through Friday, Dec. 14.
All Tennesseans are welcome at the open house to tour the holiday decorations at the executive residence.
Two Greeneville artists have ornaments displayed on the trees in the Governor's Mansion.
Greene County artist Joe Kilday painted an ornament depicting the county for the mansion's "County Ornament Tree."
And Greeneville Photographer Jerry Hankins has a custom brass ornament on the residence's Christmas tree. (Please see accompanying article, this page.)
Kilday said that, when County Mayor Alan Broyles was contacted about the ornament project for a county tree at the Governor's Mansion, the mayor called him.
Once Kilday agreed to provide the ornament, he was sent a blank ornament.
Kilday's hand-painted ornament features four historical figures with strong connections to Greene County:
* John Sevier, governor of the State of Franklin and first governor of Tennessee;
* Andrew Johnson, 17th president of the United States;
* Davy Crockett, the famed frontiersman and folk hero; and
* Nathanael Greene, the Revolutionary War general for whom the county is named.
Kilday said that behind the historical figures he painted local landscapes.
Behind Johnson is a stylized skyline of Greeneville in the 1800s, and behind the other three are the distinctive mountain peaks that make up the Greeneville view.
Kilday's creation is on display on the County Ornament Tree, displayed in the main foyer of the executive residence. The tree is decorated with ornaments representing all of Tennessee's 95 counties.
Kilday and his wife, Barbie, have been invited to a special reception at the Governor's Mansion.
It was an invitation "we just didn't feel we could turn down," Kilday said. He added that he has never been in the Governor's Mansion, and is excited to be going.
This year's holiday décor theme at the Mansion is "Tennessee Music," and the theme has been carried out through partnerships with the Museum of Appalachia in East Tennessee, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Middle Tennessee, and Stax Museum in West Tennessee, according to a news release from the tn.gov website that describes the "Home for the Holidays" open house.
In the holiday decorating project, the museum pieces were supplemented with complementing ornaments and decoration support from Jim Marvin, based in Dickson.
Marvin is known internationally for his holiday design and has assisted in decorating the White House for the holidays since 1997.
"Tennessee has a historic music legacy that showcases the special talents and traditions indigenous to each part of our state," Crissy Haslam said in a news release.
"We were honored to work with museums in each region that helped us display this unique story of Tennessee."
To continue the music theme, elementary, middle, and high school students created ornaments representing their favorite holiday songs, gospel music, patriotic music, and the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," Elvis Presley.
Their holiday ornaments are featured on 16 trees located in Conservation Hall.
Tennessee's colleges, universities, technical schools, and community colleges are represented with ornaments for a Higher Education Tree.
"This is Tennessee's home, and Bill and I feel blessed to share it with visitors from across the state to enjoy holiday decorations," Crissy Haslam said.
"We are thankful to the local artists, volunteers, museums, and school children across the state who helped make this year's Home for the Holidays so special," she added.