Jack Neely is the executive director of the Knoxville History Project. who has been writing about his hometown’s character and heritage for many years. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he studied American history, Neely was an Egyptian museum tour guide at the 1982 World’s Fair; later, he was a criminal-defense investigator, and an assistant editor for a national fiction magazine. Since his column, “Secret History,” debuted in 1992, his byline has been integral to the pages of Metro Pulse and the Knoxville Mercury. He has written several books about Knoxville and its history, most recently Historic Bearden (2020), The Tennessee Theatre: A Grand Entertainment Palace (2015); Knoxville, Tennessee: Green by Nature (2014); Market Square: A History of the Most Democratic Place on Earth (2nd ed., 2011) and Knoxville, Tennessee: This Obscure Prismatic City (2009).