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Hal Spoden, notable Kingsport civil engineer, dead at 93

November 8th, 2011 8:16 am by staff report

Hal Spoden, notable Kingsport civil engineer, dead at 93

Hal Spoden, in 2006, in his office in downtown Kingsport. Photo by Ned Jilton II.


According to Kingsport Mayor Dennis Philips Kingsport's Hal Spoden died early today.

Of his many professional and personal accomplishments was the restoration of the Netherland Inn in Kingsport's historic boatyard. He also put his time and talent to other  projects including several for the Tennessee Historical Commission.

Spoden designed the Sycamore Shoals State Historical Area and came with the design for the restoration  for Jonesborough's Chester Inn and rocky Mount in Piney Flats.

His efforts led to his inclusion in  the "2001 Tennessee Volunteer Heroes" book published by the state of Tennessee.

Spoden was a past member of the Tennessee Commission for the Restoration of the State Capitol and the Tennessee State Library and Archives Commission, a past chairman and member of the Tennessee State Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners, and past president of the Greater Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.

After opening  Spoden  and Wilson Consulting Engineers in 1956,  Hal  went on to create structural designs for several local landmarks - the old Ridgefields Bridge, the original terminal at Tri-Cities Regional Airport, the Greenbelt, the Johnson City Continuing Education Center and East Tennessee State University's new $23 million library - and even a few national ones, like the Carter Mansion and Monticello.

In a 2001 interview with Times-News writer Jessica Fishcher, Spoden, who was 83 at the time, said, "I enjoy work thoroughly. I hope I never have to stop. I look forward to coming down in the morning and starting work. In the evening I think about the things coming up the next day. It's fun. As soon as it isn't fun, I'll quit. When it isn't fun I won't enjoy it, at least."

After a lifetime of involvement on historic projects, Spoden said he was amazed at the amount of work that's been done.

"It's always amazing with the inn to think of what it was like when we first started," he said. "Of course, I had no idea it would be more than 30 years and still going. It's unbelievable to think of the advancements and what has been accomplished. And it continues to be just with volunteer labor."

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