Carthage, TN Takes a Small Step Towards Freedom

A tavern in Carthage, Tennessee managed to change a local ordinance and slightly reduce a regulation on businesses. This small victory for freedom came at a time when the city desperately needed to increase its attractions to keep the local economy from going stale. Ebel's Tavern was to be the first restaurant with beer and liquor in the Carthage since prohibition, but the town government almost did not let them open because the retail sign that they had built was larger than the allowable size.

Cole Ebel, the owner of Ebel's Tavern, had an ambitious dream to help bring new life and commerce into downtown Carthage, but a building inspector didn’t approve. “The inspector has the only private contract for building inspections in all three incorporated governments in Smith County. No other private contractors have the power of this single building inspector,” said Mr. Ebel.

After refusing to replace his sign with a smaller one, he was asked by the Mayor himself to remove it, but Mr. Ebel convinced the Mayor otherwise. With the famous “Eclipse Day” coinciding with the planned opening of the tavern, they were going to be in a prime location for tourists to visit the town. With the potential for such a big event, it seemed ridiculous for the size of a sign to prevent from taking full advantage of this opportunity. The Mayor changed the ordinance to allow for larger retail signs, and finally approved the opening of the tavern.

“I would say it's a step in the right direction. I feel we have way too much government in our small county of 20 thousand people,” said Mr. Ebel. “We are trying to breathe life into this town and the government just gets in the way.” Ebel added, “People now have a place to come together and speak freely about their issues with government outside of the traditional government-funded building. I say it’s a small victory for liberty.”