Red Rose Follow-up


A flurry of comments followed the posting of “Ode to the Red Rose” in March’s edition of The Pulse. Katie Best, who considered the popular coffee shop her “home away from home for the better part of my youth,” tried unsuccessfully last September to contact the property owners and the Realtor, but she says, “no one would return my calls,” despite multiple attempts.

Best was hoping to remove and restore the “View from a Coffee Cup” mural and return it to the original artist. She has also “considered writing a book filled with the history and memories and stories from that time when the Red Rose was a place where people of all ages could go to enjoy an afternoon/evening of great music, food, coffee and conversation.”

Although the thought of demolishing history “pains [Best] to the core,” she is left with lifelong friends met at the Rose and toasts its memory that “will live on in all who had the wonderful opportunity to experience it” and “to the ending of an era.”

Chris Cudworth of myartvillage renaissance gallery said on March 3 that he had “some interested people” who “want to save it for our gallery,” asking, “Is it too late?”

Valerie, who “can’t understand how this could happen or how it could be allowed to happen,” spent most of her free time at the Rose. She is “outraged and heartbroken at the same time, as she “basically lived there.” Why? Because she says it was “a place where you can escape from the hectic world outside and just sit back and relax, laugh and fall in love. There was so much always going on at the Rose. There was always good music, beautiful artwork and wonderful people around. You could literally feel the day melt away as soon as you walked in the door.”

Elizabeth Bray says, “It’s really too bad that in a city that has done so much good for historic preservation, we are seeing such a building destroyed. How much money and political connection does it take to save a thing which needs to be saved? Shame on the people who are doing this. The people obviously love the building and are willing to support it financially, but there is something more powerful than funding that will allow it to die.”

Joey found love for a time at the Rose. “I met many wonderful people there as a matter of fact,” he recalls. “I enjoyed days of drawing and working on poetry at the Rose.” He closes by saying, “I hope and pray that something can be done to save the Rose.”

Jeff has dreams in which he sees the former creamery as “a perfect speak-easy themed dinner club,” complete with a live band, a full bar and a menu specific to mid ‘20s Chicago or New York.

Nancy Edmondson’s uncle Ed Curlee was a Red Rose employee for years, delivering ice cream across Tennessee. Also “very interested in any kind of fundraiser or movement to save the Rose,” Edmondson drove past during a recent visit to Murfreesboro. “Although I have never been inside,” she says, “it brought back fond memories.” She suggested seeking preservation grants.

Marylou relishes Red Rose memories of another type. “I always had Easter Bunny ice cream molds at my birthday parties from Red Rose,” she says. “It was a treat to pick them up before the party. (My birthday was always at Easter.) Sad indeed.”

Liz K Zook has been following the Red Rose debacle for months. She, too, commented on its possible demise. “The architecture is beautiful,” she says, and puts her volunteerism where her mouth is, stating, “If there is any way to keep [the Red Rose] alive, someone let me know. I’d be interested in helping in any way possible.”

Zook was ready to put action behind her words and she contacted the City to find out that there was no demolition scheduled at that point. Then on March 18, she posted in her blog the list of items that need to be addressed, culled from the City of Murfreesboro Building and Codes Department Property Maintenance Inspection Report for The Red Rose Creamery Building.

The list was daunting but, according to Zook, doable.

jeffStiverArt.com responded to her blog, suggesting that folks in Murfreesboro should leave “things like art/shows, night clubs, etc.” to Nashville to provide “and we can rely on you and places like Cool Springs to buy a new coat and hat.”

Although neither family member has responded to Zook’s letters and no one has volunteered by responding to her March 21st blog post online, she remains unrattled. At last check, Channel 5 news reporter Amanda McKee expressed interest in doing a story on March 29.

As of April 1st, Realtor Larry Sims had no big news to share, although he’s hopeful that the family is entertaining bids and a decision is imminent. According to Zoot, the Building and Codes inspector is giving them until April 1st to file an appeal with the Contruction Board of Adjustments and Appeals. This is enough to maintain the blogging activist’s optimism, at least for now.


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