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Cumberland Mountain State Park

The 1,720 acres of Cumberland Mountain State Park once served as the outdoor recreational center for the massive Cumberland Homesteads project of the Resettlement Administration (RA). From 1935 to 1938 Company 3464 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a huge stone masonry bridge and dam out of local Crab Orchard stone to create Byrd's Lake as the park's central focus. The 347-foot long dam proved to be the largest masonry structure constructed by the CCC in the entire nation.

In 1938 the RA's successor, the Farm Security Administration, deeded 1,427 acres to the state, and Cumberland Mountain State Park was born. The park superintendent was Alvin C. York, the Tennessee hero of World War I. CCC Company 3464, assisted by Company 1471, continued to work at the park until 1941, building trails, picnic areas, cabins, boathouse, a bathhouse, and other structures. In addition to the dam, the bathhouse, various utility buildings, a stone water tank, pump house, drinking fountains, picnic areas, and a residence remain from the CCC work. The extant historic rustic cabins near the modern restaurant appear to have been a joint WPA and CCC effort.

Today the park features the Bear Trace Golf Course designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, swimming and hiking facilities, extensive playgrounds, 147 campsites, and picnic areas.

Suggested Reading

Carroll Van West, The New Deal Landscape of Tennessee (2001).

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010