Big Ridge State Park
The Big Ridge State Park contains 3,642 acres of reclaimed land and is headquartered in Union County about twelve miles east of Norris. Developed in tandem with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) project at Norris Dam, park construction began October 20, 1934, with Company 4495 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) providing the labor. This CCC company was originally part of a TVA work crew, designated TVA-P8-Company 1208. Under the administration of the National Park Service and the TVA Housing Division, the company built many recreational structures including log cabins, a lodge, a swimming area, a bathhouse, a beach, trails, picnic shelters, and a blacksmith shop. It also restored a circa-1825 grist mill to document the lifestyle of the rural people of Lone Mountain and Blue Mud who lived there before the Norris project. The quality of craftsmanship, the use of log and stone in the buildings, and the successful land reclamation are distinguishing characteristics of the park. A 1961 description noted that "Big Ridge has been able to capture a rustic impression in its buildings and general area which cannot be found in any other park in the system." (1) Many of these historic CCC buildings, including the restored grist mill, remain today, making Big Ridge an excellent example of the landscape created by the TVA and the CCC during the New Deal era. The TVA operated Big Ridge as one of its five reclamation and recreation demonstration parks until transferring it to the park system of the State of Tennessee in 1949.
Carroll Van West, The New Deal Landscape of Tennessee (2001).
Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010