A special exhibit featuring the legendary life and legacy of Waymon Earl Terrell (1950-2015) will be on display through Jan. 2 at the Museum of East Tennessee History in downtown Knoxville.
Terrell was well known to the Powell community, where he was regularly seen riding his bicycle and pulling a cart along the busy thoroughfares of Clinton Highway and Emory Road, his dogs often accompanying him. At his passing in December 2015, he left behind his legacy of a simple life, kindness and decency. The museum exhibit features Terrell’s amazingly inventive bicycle and cart, whirligig, as well as a memorial sculpture.
The public is invited to bring personal care items, such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, paper towels, dish soaps and disinfectant sprays, to be donated to Knoxville Pays It Forward in Terrell’s honor; and in return, guests will receive one free museum admission per item. Knoxville Pays It Forward is a local nonprofit that helps low income families, the homeless, the disadvantaged and senior citizens in times of need.
Terrell could fix anything, so they say. Although he chose to live a solitary life, he was a well-recognized and accepted member of the community. Most days he could be seen along the highways looking for trash and other items from which he could earn money to buy food and supplies. His home was crafted of tarps, sticks and scraps of metal that he had fashioned with homemade tools and scavenged parts. He was originally from Kentucky, served in the United States Marine Corps, and by his own word, had a master’s degree in economics before coming to Knoxville.
The Museum of East Tennessee History is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Museum admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for children 16 and under, Monday through Saturday. Sunday is Community Day at the museum, and admission is FREE to all.