Along The Byway
114 Central Ave. West
P.O. Box 1294
Jamestown, TN 38556
Total Area: 499 square miles
Water Area: 0.4 square miles
Density: 35.99 residents/square mile
County Seat: Jamestown – Population: 1,959
Largest City: Jamestown – Population: 1,959
Continuing along SR 52, the Cumberland Historic Byway enters Fentress County through the southernmost leg of the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area. Fentress County also marks the easternmost portion of the middle division of Tennessee’s three Grand Divisions. The county was established in 1823 from Morgan, Overton, and White counties and is named in honor of James Fentress (1763-1843), who served as speaker of the state house, and encompasses an area of approximately 500 square miles on the Cumberland Plateau. The county’s gently rolling landscape is crossed by the Wolf, Obey, Clear Fork, and Clear Creek rivers, with the valley known as the Three Forks of the Wolf River being the most fertile land in the county. Fentress County is also characterized by its numerous caves, two of which were mined for saltpeter (potassium nitrate) to manufacture gunpowder during the Civil War: Saltpeter Cave, located four miles west of Allardt, and Buffalo Cave, situated one mile northeast of Helena.
Fentress County contains eight properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Allardt Historic District, Allardt Presbyterian Church, Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute, Alvin York Historic District, Gernt Office, Bruno Gernt House, Old Fentress County Jail, and Youngs Historic District. The county also includes one National Historic Landmark, the Alvin C. York Farm. In addition, 261 architectural resources are located within the one-mile buffer of the Scenic Byway. These resources were originally surveyed by Tennessee Tech University in 1991.
Tennessee Historical Commission historical markers located along the route include:
1. Alvin C. York – The marker is located on US 127 in Jamestown and describes the exploits of Alvin C. York and postwar contributions to Fentress County.
2. Mark Twain Spring – Located on North Main Street in Jamestown, this marker identifies a spring that early settlers used as a source of drinking water. The marker mentions that Mark Twain’s parents lived in Jamestown between 1827 and 1832 before moving to Missouri in 1835.
Located on SR 52 and Base Line Road, the Allardt Historic District was listed on the National Register in 1991 for its architectural significance. Overall, the district contains the most intact collection of late-19th and early-20th century vernacular architecture in the area. The historic district includes eleven contributing buildings and their outbuildings that represent the district’s period of significance from 1881 to 1930. Prevailing architectural styles exhibited in the district include homes designed in the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. In addition, the district features many traditional L-plan houses. The Allardt Historic District also includes the house of Allardt founder Bruno Gernt.
The Bruno Gernt House was listed on the National Register in 1987 for its historical association with Allardt’s founder, Bruno Gernt. Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1851, Gernt emigrated to the United States in the mid-1870s as the spokesperson for a German colonization group. Gernt initially established the settlement of Saxonia in Sanilac County, Michigan, before moving south to Tennessee. According to local tradition, Gernt received the inspiration for starting a new settlement in Tennessee following a visit to the Rugby Colony in nearby Morgan County. Soon afterward, Gernt became the land agent for Cyrus and James N. Clarke of Nebraska, who held title to large tracts of land in the Cumberland Plateau region. As land agent, Gernt promoted settlement of the area and the exploitation of its natural resources. Through Gernt’s efforts, he helped settlers finance the purchase of land in the area that eventually developed into the town of Allardt.
Another National Register-listed property linked with Bruno Gernt is the Gernt Office, which was listed on the National Register in 1991 for its association with Allardt’s commerce history and for its association with Bruno Gernt. Constructed ca. 1898 by Emil Steinert, the building served as Gernt’s business office, where he managed the land sales responsible for the development of the town of Allardt. Following Gernt’s death in 1932, the building continued to be used for commercial purposes by descendants of the Gernt family until the early 1970s.
The National Register-listed Allardt Presbyterian Church is recognized for its local significance in the areas of social history and architecture. Completed in 1903, the church is associated with the region’s German heritage, as it was designed by Max Colditz and constructed by Otto Basese, Emil Steinert, and Andrew Lake. Architecturally, the church is an excellent example of a Gothic Revival-influenced church, featuring detailed interior woodwork similar to that found in the NRHP-listed Gernt House and Gernt Office building.
The town of Allardt also includes the Youngs Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 1991 for its association with the historical development of Allardt. In addition, the district is architecturally significant for its collection of commercial and residential buildings that were constructed between 1903 and 1925. Prevailing architectural designs exhibited in the district include 20th-century commercial vernacular, bungalows, and Four Square-style residences. The Youngs Historic District features two businesses that were originally owned by Joseph Youngs, a prominent Allardt business man during the early 20th century.
The Cumberland Historic Byway turns north at Jamestown onto US 127 / SR 28. Here, at the county seat of Jamestown, is located the Old Fentress County Jail, which was listed on the National Register in 1984 for its architectural and historical significance. Architecturally, the building represents one of the oldest examples of the use of quarry-faced sandstone as a primary building material. Historically, the Old Fentress County Jail is the oldest public building in Fentress County, replacing a small log structure built in 1827 that served a similar function.
Constructed in 1898, the jail served the needs of the county’s penal system from 1898 to 1979.
Nine miles north of Jamestown on US 127 and near the town of Pall Mall, lies the Alvin Cullom York Farm. The property was listed as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1976 for its association with famed World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York. In a brief biographical sketch of the man, the authors of the NHL nomination wrote:
“York indelibly left his mark on the annals of American military valor in the Battle of the Argonne Forest on October 8, 1918, when almost single-handedly he killed 25 Germans, took 132 prisoners, and knocked out 35 machine guns — a feat that Marshall Ferdinand Foch, Commander of the Allied Armies, labeled as ‘the greatest thing accomplished by a private soldier of all armies of Europe.’ York’s name became a household word in America. Awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor and many other decorations and deluged with many opportunities to capitalize financially on his fame, he chose to return to his home in the Tennessee hills, marry and raise a family, and strive to improve the lives of his neighbors.”
The Alvin Cullom York Farm includes 16 acres that contain York’s post-World War I home, built in 1922, and nine outbuildings. York resided in this house until his death in 1964. The Alvin Cullom York Farm lies within the larger Alvin C. York Historic District.
The Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute Historic District was listed on the National Register in 1991 for its association with Sgt. Alvin C. York. Constructed between 1927 and 1929, the York Institute consists of a high school and an elementary school that were constructed at the direction of Alvin C. York. The York Institute represents the culmination of York’s desire to provide local children with a better quality of education. Located near Pall Mall, the Alvin C. York Institute lies within an eight-acre parcel and contains three buildings and a sign spelling out “York Institute.”
In 1973, the Alvin C. York Historic District was listed on the National Register for its association with the famed World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York. The historic district lies within the Pall Mall community on roughly 680 acres and contains several buildings and sites associated with the life of York. The district includes:
The Francis Asbury Williams House — a three-room log and frame house that was the birthplace of York’s wife, Grace Williams.
The John Frogge House — a two-story frame house built ca. 1850 by John Frogge, a local attorney who York consulted with prior to his service in World War I.
York Springs — a brook that flows from the base of Frogge Mountain and is the settlement site of York’s great-great-grandfather, Conrad Pile. According to the nomination form, Pile lived in a cave above the spring while constructing his cabin.
The Erasmus Pile House — a two-story frame house built by Ras Pile, a descendant of Conrad Pile, in 1880. The house served as the starting point of York’s wedding procession to the rock ledge where he and Gracie Williams exchanged their wedding vows.
Marriage Rock — the rock where Alvin York and Gracie Williams were married by Governor A. H. Roberts.
York’s First House — the first house occupied by York and his wife, Gracie Williams. The one-and-one-half-story frame house was built by York in 1920.
Wolf River Methodist Church — the church where York pledged to refrain from drinking and gambling. York attended church services here until the construction of York Chapel in 1926. The adjoining cemetery contains York’s burial site and the graves of many of his relatives.
The Grave of Alvin C. York — located in the cemetery of the Wolf River Methodist Church.
The Williams-Pile House — a two-story frame house built in 1896 by Elijah Williams. The property contains an adjoining farm where York worked before joining the military.
Post Office — a one-story frame building constructed by York in 1920. The building served as a general store and post office where York worked following the war.
York Chapel — Constructed in 1926 by York, the church served as a meeting place for the Church of Christ in Christian Union. York attended church services here until his death in 1964.
York Bible School — Completed in 1943 from funds raised by York, the building served as a religious school until 1960.
York Grist Mill — Constructed in 1880 by James Conley and William Rankin, the mill was powered by water from the Wolf River. York purchased the mill and operated it until his health failed in the early 1960s.
Sgt. York Home — Built in 1922, funds for the construction of the two-story house were raised by Nashville Rotary Club and the Nashville Banner newspaper.
In the northwest corner of Fentress County, the Scenic Byway passes through another National Register-listed historic district. The Forbus Historic District was recognized in 1991 for its association with the historical development of Fentress County. The historic district includes six contributing buildings that represent the district’s period of significance from 1892 to 1940. Architecturally, the district is a representative example of a rural commercial center and features a general store, a house, and four support buildings. The Forbus Historic District is situated in the community center of land that was originally owned by John M. Clemens, the first postmaster of the Wolf River area.
Highway 127 Yard SalePickett & Fentress Counties, Tennessee
Every year, individuals clean out their closets and stake out their front yards along the Hwy. 127 corridor, stretching over 690 miles from Addison, Michigan, to Gadsden, Alabama. They band together as communities, in groups, or as individuals, and over a four-day weekend, they welcome the onslaught of visitors from the north, south east and west. It is a mutual exchange of cultures with a common goal: to look, buy, and sell! As you drive the country roads, you will hear a collection of dialects, be privy to incredible stories related to the individuals and the items they sell, and see a plethora of items that only your grandmother could love.
Highland Manor WineryFentress County, Tennessee
Highland Manor Winery, the oldest winery in Tennessee, is located on the Cumberland Plateau amid the natural splendor of this rugged region of Tennessee. People who venture off the beaten path of the interstate can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Dale Hollow Lake, and Pickett State Park and culminate that pleasant experience with a visit to Highland Manor Winery. Visitors are treated royally with a tasting of our fine wines and a tour of the winery, and are invited to stay a while and enjoy the unexpected charms of Highland Manor Winery by picnicking on the grounds while enjoying the beauty of the vineyard and blueberry patch.
Sycamore Springs FarmJamestown, Tennessee
Upper Cumberland Quilt TrailMultiple Counties in Tennessee
Forbus General StorePall Mall, Tennessee
First National BankHuntsville, Tennessee
Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic ParkPall Mall, Tennessee
Alvin C. York Agricultural InstituteJamestown, Tennessee
Mark Twain Spring
Old Fentress County JailJamestown, Tennessee
The Old Fentress County Jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 for its architectural and historical significance. Architecturally, the building represents one of the oldest examples of the use of quarry-faced sandstone as a primary building material. Historically, the Old Fentress County Jail is the oldest public building in Fentress County. Constructed in 1898, it served the needs of the county penal system from 1898 to 1979. Original cells are intact for visitors to crawl into, close the door, and see what it was like to be behind bars. The site also houses the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce.
Gernt Office & Allardt Land Company
The Gernt Office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 for its association with Allardt’s commerce history and for its association with the town founder, Bruno Gernt. Constructed ca. 1898, the building served as Gernt’s office, where he managed the land sales responsible for the development of the town of Allardt. Following Gernt’s death in 1932, the building continued to be used for commercial purposes by descendants of the Gernt family until the early 1970s.
Bruno Gernt HouseAllardt, Tennessee
The Bruno Gernt House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 for its historical association with Allardt founder Bruno Gernt. Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1851, Gernt immigrated to the United States in the mid-1870s as the spokesperson for a German colonization group. Gernt initially established the settlement of Saxonia in Sanilac County, Michigan, before moving south to Tennessee. According to local tradition, Gernt received the inspiration for starting a new settlement in Tennessee following a visit to the Rugby Colony in nearby Morgan County. Soon afterward, Gernt became the land agent for Cyrus and James N. Clarke of Nebraska, who held title to large tracts of land in the Cumberland Plateau region. As land agent, Gernt promoted settlement of the area and the exploitation of its natural resources. Through Gernt’s efforts, he helped settlers finance the purchase of land in the area that eventually developed into the town of Allardt.
Alvin C. York Farm
The Alvin Cullom York Farm was listed as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1973 for its association with famed World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York. Located off U.S. Highway 127 near Pall Mall, the Alvin Cullom York Farm includes 16 acres that contain York’s post-World War I home, built in 1922, and nine outbuildings. York resided in this house until his death in 1964. The Alvin Cullom York Farm lies within the larger Alvin York Historic District.
East Fork Stables
Fentress County, Tennessee
The East Fork terrain encompasses shady forests, sandy trails, open fields, rock formations, waterfalls, lily pad ponds, and flora along river banks accessible only by horseback. Their vast trail system ensures your journey will be filled with new sights and trails each day. East Fork Stables is conveniently located with interstate access off I-40 in the hub of Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, TN. They offer several annual theme rides, including the Wild Flower Ride, Racking on the Edge, Luau Ride, and Oktoberfest Ride, which include meals and entertainment.
Jammin’ at Hippie Jack’s Americana Music Festival
Fentress County, Tennessee
The Council of Americana Roots Music’s mission is to preserve, present, and archive music of original singer-songwriters of Americana roots music. Programming includes production of a 16-episode annual public television series titled Jammin at Hippie Jack’s (JAHJ). This half-hour music television series is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of original singer-songwriters of historically significant forms of Americana grassroots music. The series is currently distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) to public television stations, libraries, and educational institutions throughout the nation. Additional initiatives include a regional radio program, The Hippie Jack Radio Hour, broadcast on WDVX radio in Knoxville, the East Tennessee region, and worldwide at www.wdvx.com; and two public engagement music festivals held in May and September in rural Overton County, Tennessee.
Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural AreaFentress County, Tennessee
Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area is a 3,000-acre natural area adjacent to Pickett State Forest. The natural area is named for Pogue Creek, which, along with its tributaries, formed and runs through the magnificent gorge that makes this area so special. The bluff line is scenic where exposed reddish orange sandstone forms bands of sheer rock cliffs. In many places, very scenic rock houses and sandstone formations occur, creating astonishing, picturesque rock structures. The rock houses are habitat for several rare species. There are no currently established trails in this area. It is highly recommended that visitors call the Pickett State Park offices in advance of their visit and schedule a tour if they wish to visit this area.
Big South Fork National River & Recreation AreaFentress, Morgan & Scott Counties, Tennessee
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation area spans 125,000 acres across the Cumberland Plateau and boasts miles of scenic gorges. The area is also rich for its natural and historical features and has been developed to provide a number of outdoor activities for visitors. The river also features custom horseback riding trails for pleasure trail riding, hunting trips, anniversary rides, and overnight pack trips.
Colditz Cove State Natural AreaFentress County, Tennessee
Tennessee’s Colditz Cove State Natural Area is a great day hike and waterfall for trekkers in the vicinity of Rugby, Big South Fork, and Sgt. York State Park. Dropping over 60 feet from a rock ledge, Northrup Falls is one of the most photogenic waterfalls in the Cumberland Plateau. It flows through a narrow, scenic gorge along Big Branch Creek amidst some of the largest old growth stands of hemlock and white pines that can be seen in the plateau region.
The Old Allardt Schoolhouse
Maple Hill RV Park & Cabins
The Jordan Motel
The Jordan Motel is located in Jamestown, Tennessee — the heart of Big South Fork Country — and amidst the Trail Riding Capital of the Southeast.