A Proposal to Enhance Tourism in Tennessee

By Dr. Venkata Ramamohana Rao (Ram) Uppuluri, 1987

N.B. So far as I know, this is the oldest document of any kind which refers to the project which eventually became -- in 1996 -- the International Friendship Bell in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I found and photocopied the unsigned one-page typed document on September 13, 2003, in the archives of the Childrens Museum of Oak Ridge (CMOR). I discussed it with Shikeko Uppuluri on June 13, 2004. She confirmed its authorship (her late husband Ram Uppuluri), the date of its authorship (just after their visit to Japan in September 1987), and its purpose (to help promote tourism in Tennessee). But she could not recall the person or persons for whom the document had been created or to whom it was actually delivered. The original document contains no imagery of any kind. The above image of stone lanterns in Nara, Japan, has been added to this webpage, and hot links have been added to the text as reproduced below. Otherwise, the text of this document is reproduced below as closely as possible to the original document. Please email any comments or questions to geovisual at comcast.net. EWL

A Proposal to Enhance Tourism in Tennessee

The State of Tennessee is bestowed with the natural beauty of mountains and streams which make it an important tourist attraction. With careful planning the local Municipalities, State Government and the Federal Government exploited many of the natural features of the State and enhanced it to the enjoyment of the citizens. Over the years the county parks and the state parks improved the beauty of the State and enhanced the recreational facilities for the communities.

Because of the timely additions of projects such as the Smokey Mountains National Park, the South Fork Wilderness Area managed by the Department of Interior, and the mammoth projects completed by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the development of Interstate Highways, our State has attracted the attention of people from the rest of the Country. The splendor and beauty of our State made Tourism an important Industry in Tennessee. The private enterprise has also contributed a lot for Tourism in the State with Opryland and Music Industry in middle Tennessee and the recent addition [in 1986] of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.

In the tradition of enhancing the beauty of the state by adding unique features, which will make tourism flourish we wish to propose the following: Bring the Biggest Bell from Japan and house it in a specially designed building surrounded by rows of Stone Lanterns (just like those in Nara, Japan). The State has successfully attracted Japanese Industry to grow here, and the Japanese being lovers of nature would definitely support such an activitity. The State has also the climate similar to the area surrounding Nara, Japan and with all the trees, streams and mountains one can easily envision the beauty of the stone lanterns duplicated here.

Recently, we discussed this idea with an official of the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, Tokyo, Japan and he embelished this idea in several directions. It was suggested that we could have the top Japanese Designer, design and create the biggest Bell and have an architect like Henry Moore, USA, design the building to house this bell. This may be a multimillion dollar project and perhaps will succeed if we have a planning committee consisting of eminent Tennesseeans.

What should we call this project which may be as significant as the Statue of Liberty? Should we call this project TOROO KANE (Bell surrounded by rows of Stone Lanterns) or should we call this Project Peace Bell? The Japan Cultural Society of Oak Ridge will be happy to sponsor this project and work for its materialization in a couple of years. For more information contact: Ram Uppuluri, 130 Indian Lane, Oak Ridge, TN 37830. Tel (615) 483-9957 or Office (615) 574-3145.

Please email any comments or questions to geovisual at comcast.net