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Timeless Events
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COURTHOUSE CENTERS AROUND TIMELESS EVENTS

1920-1940

During the Depression, many found unusual ways to survive. Unfortunately, not all were a success. In the spring of 1923, a handsome, young stranger curiously walked the grounds of the Courthouse. An official led him up to the roof at the base of the clock tower. The stranger left the Courthouse and walked into several stores around the Square. In each store the man informed the merchants that he was known as the "Human Fly". Newspaper articles he presented confirmed his ability to perform daredevil feats. The "Human Fly" announced that he would climb the Courthouse to the top of the clock tower for a small fee. When the money was collected, that night the "Human Fly" attempted the dangerous climb.

A powerful searchlight mounted on a fire truck beamed on the Courthouse. The assent was successful. The crowd began to cheer as he waved from the clock tower. As he descended the crowd became anxious. A light mist was visible through the beam. Suddenly, the "Human Fly" lost his footing on the clock tower and fell to his death. This mysterious man had revealed no identity. For five days he was displayed in the storefront window of Sweeny’s Funeral Parlor in a glass casket. This was in hopes that someone would recognize the "Human Fly" but no one did. Later he was buried in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery.

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The First Night Shot of the Courthouse, 1936

In the 1930’s major improvements were made to the Courthouse. Walkways and benches were added to the property. The first night shots of the Courthouse were made Christmas 1936. Brightly colored lights cascaded from the cupola to the newly installed street lamps. This area continued to be the center of activity during the 1940’s. The Courthouse came to the forefront after many years of silence during World War II. It was used as an air raid alarm. The bell was rung at 9:00 am on June 9, 1942 to signal the first statewide blackout.

 

 

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Courthouse, 1940

The Square became the center for the soldiers who took part in training exercises. Tanks and other army vehicles were seen circling the Square. Middle Tennessee having similar physical features to those of the European terrain was designated as a "maneuver training area."

 

 

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After World War II, Murfreesboro garnered both local and national attention when it welcomed General Douglas McArthur, his wife native Jean Faircloth and their eleven-year-old son back to Murfreesboro. There had been such preliminary fanfare that the event that was to attract thousands of greeters was significantly reduced. However this event was the first to be planned by the community around a national hero.