Tennessee August 02, 2017
The Strange Story Behind This Popular Tennessee Library Will Give You Chills
The Templeton Library in Sewanee, Tennessee is a beautiful building with quite the strange history. Built by a man who didn’t quite know how to make up his mind, the library sits as a stunning crown jewel placed high in the hilly countryside of Tennessee. We decided to get to the bottom of the swirling stories and legends and tell you the truth behind the stone facade – and you may just be surprised.
Sir John Templeton was born in Winchester, Tennessee, a charismatic child with a big dreams. He ended up graduating from Yale, working multiple jobs and winning many hands of poker (some say he was a prodigy). He eventually moved to Oxford, England as a Rhodes Scholar, making a dent in the world of investment banking.
Known to be a very selfish man, Templeton made his fortune off of the broken during the Great Depression. It is rumored that he said, "Buy when there’s blood on the streets," further solidifying his strange and elusive emotional nature.
In the mid-fifties, his first wife died in a gruesome motorcycle accident, and in 1968 he renounced his American citizenship in order not to pay taxes. That's a pretty solid scheme, if you ask us. He moved to the Bahamas, where he took up residence in a tax-shelter of sorts. He took up a lifestyle that was increasingly upscale and privileged, a wealthy man with eyes only for his riches.
It was around this point in his life that he started to REALLY care about religion, establishing the "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities", and awarding millions of dollars to religious leaders and peacemakers, like Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. He became consumed with his need to invest in change, throwing money towards causes with abandon and mourning the death of his second wife.
It was around this time he decided to do one last thing for himself: build a monument in his home state. That's where the Templeton Library comes in. Originally, it was locked almost at all times, did not have a large amount of books and was completely closed to the public. It was a beautiful space, but much like his life, was completely empty.
Sir John Templeton died in 2008, but the library sits on a hill on the Cumberland Plateau, overlooking the entirety of the valley. A strange space dedicated to a strange man - but beautiful nonetheless.
That was strange…oh well.
Here’s a little something to make you laugh.