Posted on August 11, 2005
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced today that he will help kick off the Maryville Municipal Center grand opening celebration on Saturday, August 27 by unveiling a portrait of Sam Houston. “As a proud Maryville native, I’m honored to be a part of this historic event,” said Alexander. “Everything – from the ground the center stands on, to the folks depicted in the portraits we’re unveiling – everything represents an important aspect of Maryville history. I grew up hearing stories about Sam Houston and these other important Maryville figures. In fact, a portrait of Sam Houston hangs above my desk in Washington and his walking stick sits just to the right of it, so I’m constantly reminded of him and his role in our hometown’s history. I’ve enjoyed watching progress on this building. I’m delighted it’s complete and honored to be participating in this celebration of Maryville’s past and future.” “We are most honored to have Senator Alexander help dedicate our new Municipal Center and most appropriately to unveil our wonderful portrait of Sam Houston,” stated Maryville Mayor Joe Swann. “Lamar Alexander and Sam Houston share a common tie with Maryville and Blount County. They have a secure place of distinction in the hearts and minds of our nation, our state, our county and our city. Both were distinguished governors of Tennessee, and Maryville could not be more proud of them." Houston's portrait, along with the portraits of several other prominent figures in Maryville history including, Isaac Anderson, Dr. Samuel Pride and Will McTeer are by Maryville artist Amy Campbell. The works were commissioned for the Municipal Center by the City of Maryville. As a child, Sam Houston moved with his mother to Maryville, and spent much of his youth in the mountains of Tennessee with the Cherokee Indians. He served two terms in the U.S. Congress and was elected governor of Tennessee in 1827. After a brief marriage ended unfavorably, Houston quietly resigned from Tennessee politics and returned to live with the Cherokees. There, he remained until 1832 when he moved to Texas where he served as the first president of the Republic of Texas, and later served as a U.S. Senator from Texas. He was elected governor of Texas in 1859 but was deposed in 1861 due to his refusal to swear allegiance to the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War. He left public life and died in Huntsville, Texas in 1863. Campbell’s depiction of Houston is of his role as a teacher. As a young man Houston opened a private school in Maryville, saying that teaching gave him a “higher feeling of dignity and self-satisfaction than any office or honor which I have since held.” The Maryville Municipal Center grand opening celebration and portrait unveiling begins at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, August 27. The Center is located at 404 West Broadway Avenue in Maryville.