CLINTON, Tennessee — Downtown Clinton is all about preserving history and transforming aged spaces into new destinations. We spent a day in downtown Clinton to check out just all it has to offer.

Antique Shopping

Home to more than 20 antique shops, even the most experienced antiquers can find what they're looking for. 

"The antique stores are the main attraction here," June Adcox, the owner of Fine Things Antiques & Decor, said.

The shops alone put the city on the map-- it's considered one of the top 10 antiquing districts in the country.

"People come from everywhere here," Adcox said.

Adcox has owned Fine Things Antiques & Decor for 35 years. 

Fine Things
Fine Things Antiques & Decor on Market Street in downtown Clinton
Heather Waliga

There is a treasure around every corner in the shop, from vintage dressers to stained glass lamps.

"It's a love of furniture and wood and the origin and the way things are built and the love that goes into them," she said.

Fine Things
Inside Fine Things Antiques & Decor
Heather Waliga

Green McAdoo Cultural Center

Clinton's historical significance doesn't just exist within the walls of its antique shops. 

It's a town that played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement when 12 black students walked through the doors of Clinton High School in 1956 in pursuit of desegregation, now known as the 'Clinton 12.'

The group was one of the first to integrate an all-white school in the South, sparking protests that got national attention.

The Green McAdoo Cultural Center opened in 2006 to preserve and highlight the history of the Clinton 12.

It includes life-size pictures and narratives of the dramatic events that unfolded when those students entered the high school's halls, including when the school was bombed.

Green McAdoo Cultural Center
Outside the Green McAdoo Cultural Center on School St. in downtown Clinton
Heather Waliga

Marilyn Hayden's brother was of those students who made history.

"If you don't know your history, then you're dumb to repeat it, and I think those kids did a brave thing, and they got little recognition for it," she said. "It wasn't because they wanted any. It was because they had to go to school, and that's what they did."

The Green McAdoo Cultural Center is now part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, a national list of locations across 15 states that allows visitors to explore the fight for civil rights in the U.S.

In 2018, 2,200 people from 49 U.S. states and several countries visited the museum.

It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hoskins Drug Store

Once you've seen and learned about the area's history, stop by for a bite to eat at Hoskins Drug Store to live it.

The downtown Clinton staple has been serving up blue plate specials to regulars since 1930.

"I've been coming here for about 40 years," Mona Leake said. "They have terrific hamburgers, and their chicken and dumplings are wonderful."

"Wednesdays are homemade meatloaf. Thursdays homemade banana pudding, and those are always two favorites," Mollie Scarbrough said.

Scarbrough and her sister, Dudley Bostic, now run the family-owned restaurant and pharmacy.

"If these walls could talk, they would tell a lot of stories here," Scarbrough said. "People come in all the time, and they say 'Wow! We used to have one of those growing up!', and we've been able to maintain it just because the people support it."

Sam Franklin Florist 

Part of preserving the history of the area means transforming aged spaces into new destinations.

Like Sam Franklin Florist, which is located inside of what used to be the old downtown post office.

Sam Franklin Florist
Inside Sam Franklin Florist on N. Main St. in downtown Clinton
Heather Waliga

"The treat is really when you get inside the building," owner Sam Franklin said. 

Franklin calls downtown Clinton a place where visitors are always welcome.

"It's kind of like living in Mayberry. We just don't have Andy Griffith here," he laughed.

Franklin's business isn't just about fresh cut flowers, though.

"We hope to make things more beautiful and help make things even better for Clinton."

Ready to take a trip to Clinton to see it all for yourself? Click here for more information about downtown Clinton.

Want to check it out during one of the town's special events hosted by the Historic Downtown Clinton Merchants Association like it's Market Nights, Pioneer Market or Christmas Market? Click here.