To Explore

Historic Sites

Historically, the North Cumberland region of Tennessee has been an area of passage, providing a route into areas of the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. As early as 1790, pioneers traveled through the Cumberland Gap on buffalo trails that provided passage for Native Americans and wildlife for many years prior to European settlement of the area. Moving westward into the Powell Valley, several historic homes are still intact, dating back to the late 1700s. Additionally, the Speedwell Academy, a school built in 1827 by German immigrant George Shutter that was also used as a Confederate hospital, still stands as a reminder of the social and educational history of the region. As travelers make their way up the Cumberland Plateau, they travel through Huntsville, the home of the Old Scott County Jail, the First National Bank of Huntsville, and Barton Chapel, all of which were built in the early 1900s. Farther along the Byway on the Plateau lies Historic Rugby, a colony established in 1880 by Thomas Hughes to provide a place for English aristocrats to learn business, trade, and manual arts without the social restrictions of the English gentry. Several Victorian homes and buildings still remain in Rugby, and residents are working to restore and revitalize the town.

Past Rugby lies Allardt, a settlement established by German land agent Bruno Gernt in hopes of establishing a self-sufficient city on the Cumberland Plateau. Several buildings remain in the Allardt Historic District, including Gernt’s office and home. In Jamestown, the Old Fentress County Jail and several other locally quarried sandstone buildings make for a nice historic downtown.

Next, Byway visitors make it to the homeplaces of famed Tennesseans Sgt. Alvin C. York and Cordell Hull, whose contributions to our country merited listings on the National Register of Historic Places. As you approach Dale Hollow Lake, you pass through Byrdstown by the Historic Pickett County Courthouse into Livingston, home of a classic example of a historic Southern courthouse square.

Finally, the Byway terminates in Celina at the convergence of the Cumberland and Obey Rivers where logs were rafted down to Nashville and the original Clay County courthouse still stands as it did when it was built in 1873.