HankWilliams.WS
An Un-Official Website for Hank Williams, Sr.

Tennessee Theatre

After leaving the Andrew Johnson Hotel late on December 31, 1952, it seems likely Hank Williams rode north on Gay Street and past the Tennessee Theatre. The theatre was scheduled to play "Stop, You're Killing Me" around at 11:15pm. The theater has no connection to Hank's last day. Next, they probably turned onto Magnolia, drove past Chilhowee Park and then to U.S. Highway 11W (Rutledge Pike). From my visit, it seems 11W was marked a little odd. Perhaps "S11W." So, be sure to watch for Rutledge Pike signs if you make the drive.

By most accounts, Hank Williams (or his driver, Charles Carr) went to the Dough Boy Lunch to inquire about hiring a relief driver. The Bluefield Cab Company was located next door. Donald Surface, a cab driver, was hired for the trip. The Dough Boy Lunch and the cab company are both long gone. Most of the structures along this stretch of road were demolished in the 1960s. The two buildings were located in the area across from the current police station and fire department on Bluefield Avenue. This area is now occupied by JanPak as seen in the 2006 photos below.

Accounts vary and sometimes state this took place in Bristol, Tennessee. At least one source says the supposed restaurant in Bristol didn't exist until some years later. An article in the Roanoke Times, dated May 15, 1997, has several firsthand accounts of people who witnessed the Bluefield events.

One story claims that Hank Williams' car stopped at Bon Bon Confectionery and Hardware Store in Mount Hope shortly before he was discovered dead just up the road in Hilltop. The car supposedly stopped across the street and Carr entered Bon Bon's. Carr reportedly claimed that Hank wasn't feeling well and needed a drink. The waitress fixed a lemon sour for Carr to take to the singer. Today, Carr denies ever making the stop and the story does seem doubtful since Hank was likely already dead. If the stop was made, perhaps the drink was actually for Carr or the relief driver, Surface.