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Heritage

The Unicoi County Heritage Museum:

The Unicoi County Heritage Museum is located in Clinchfield and stands with a 101-year-old frame house that was of the first superintendent of the Erwin Fish Hatchery, constructed in 1903. The stately old house over time became dilapidated and almost impossible to heat. It was slated for demolition and Mr. Ralph Erwin of the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce suggested that the house be renovated to become a museum and center for community activities. The museum was opened to the public on July 3, 1982. “There are many interesting exhibits, but one display that caught my eye was the Blue Ridge Pottery Room. Unicoi County was once home to Southern Potteries, Inc., the largest hand-painted pottery business in the country until its closure in 1957” says a visitor of the museum. Visit this historical place that has been brought to life by art and community. Cost to enter the museum is $2.00 and allows you access to see all the artifacts and exhibits. The museum is handicapped accessible. Open year-round, Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed on major holidays.

529 Federal Hatchery Rd.

Erwin, TN 37650

Phone Number: 423-743-9449

Clinchfield Railroad Museum:

Modeled to look like an old-fashioned train depot, the Clinchfield Railroad Museum pays homage to the Town of Erwin’s rich railroad history. The Clinchfield Railroad was once an operating and holding company for the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railway. The line ran from the coalfields of Virginia and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, to the textile mills of South Carolina. The 35-mile segment from Dante, Virginia, to Elkhorn City, opening up the coal lands north of Sandy Ridge Mountains and forming a connection with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at Elkhorn City, was completed in 1915. The Clinchfield Railroad began operating the line December 1, 1924, and for many years it was leased jointly by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The Clinchfield was the last Class I railroad built in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. The 266-mile railroad provided access to numerous scenic wonders of the Appalachian region and is probably best known for the state-of-the-art railroad engineering techniques applied in its construction, as exemplified by the Clinchfield Loops climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Marion, North Carolina.  At the end of 1925 the railroad operated 309 miles of road and 467 miles of track; mileages in 1970 were 312 and 501. Once inside the museum, guests proceed into the large display room, filled with railroad collection memorabilia. The museum captures a time when railroads were the heart and soul of Erwin, come see for yourself!

529 Federal Hatchery Rd.

Erwin, TN 37650

Phone Number: 423-743-9449

 

Bogart Bowman Cabin

Once owned by a number of different families, beginning with the Shelby family who obtained the property along the Buffalo Creek in 1782, the Bogart-Bowman Cabin changed hands from the Shelby family to the Bogart family and subsequently to the Bowman family by marriage. Considering the architectural details and particular methods of early frontier carpentry, it is believed the two-story cabin, dog trot and adjoining kitchen were built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. The Town of Unicoi purchased the property in 2008 and began restoration. The exterior of this dwelling had been covered by manufactured siding for eighty years and the interior rooms had been covered by sheet rock and other paneled coverings. What was hiding under the modern exterior and interior wall coverings was the original log construction. The fireplace had been covered over in the main room and the second floor had been sealed off. Once the sheet rock on the interior was removed, it revealed newspapers from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s plastered to the logs, a common practice of the period in an effort to ward off the cold. The chimney and fireplace in the main cabin were constructed of the native Tennessee limestone. Once restored, the Bogart-Bowman log cabin and park will be the site of educational opportunities for local children and the public. These activities will include local and state history, early frontier social and cultural practices, as well as outdoor study of native plants.

5012 Unicoi Dr

Unicoi, TN 37692

 

Erwin National Fish Hatchery

Established in 1894 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Erwin National Fish Hatchery produces 10-13 million disease-free eggs annually from four strains of rainbow trout broodstock. Erwin National Fish Hatchery has been raising and shipping fish for over 120 years! Back then one of the most appealing factors for selecting this location for the hatchery was the close proximity to the railroad. Before the introduction of commercialized trucks, rail cars were used to transport fish from one facility to the next. Employed on these rail cars, were fish culturists who were responsible for aerating the water and adding ice as needed along the route. By the 1940’s, fish transport via rail cars had largely been replaced with commercial trucking, as it was considered more economical. Though trucking remains as our primary method of shipping today, improvements over the last several decades have allowed eggs and fish to be expedited overnight to the receiving facility, improving overall health and viability. These eggs are shipped to other Federal, State and Tribal hatcheries to support their fishery management efforts. The station also provides eggs to research centers, classrooms, and universities. Broodstock operations are performed in a manner that will preserve or optimize the genetic diversity of hatchery fish.

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