Little town boasts big antiquarian book fair
May 18, 2011
Cowan, Tennessee, an hour's drive northwest of Chattanooga, might not be a household name in most parts of the country. But it is to antiquarian book collectors who will be gathering in Cowan's Monterey Station for a book fair on July 16-17, 2011.

Featured at the event is keynote speaker Nicholas Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness, a collection of stories about the history of book-collecting. Other lectures include these topics: children's literacy, Tennessee's part in the War between the States and book collecting 101.

The fair will include a variety of collectable and rare books, autographed documents and other ephemera. Bibliophiles will discover modern first editions of mystery, science fiction and literature. Collectable books and documents concerning the War between the States, the American Revolution and both World Wars also will be available. Dealers specializing in children's literature, art, religion, fine bindings and books about books will be exhibiting. Prices will range from $10 to $20,000.

Cowan also is an interesting place for railroad buffs to consider when planning a short trip. It was established as a stop for the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. The Cowan Railroad Museum is housed in a wooden building built in 1904 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in Cowan Railroad Park, a green space that straddles the railroad and, besides the museum, contains historic markers, a train viewing platform and a replica of the first courthouse of Franklin County.

The fair will be held in the 20,000-sq.ft. building known as Monterey Station. It was built in the 1920s and previously used as a shoe factory and yarn mill. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission, that covers both days, is $5 for adults and free for those under 18. Seating in the lecture hall is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Cowan Railroad Museumcrrm127202011-05-19 13:39:27