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5 Outdoor History Sites in Anderson County

It’s no surprise that Anderson County, Tennessee is brimming with unique history, but what you may not know is that many of Anderson County’s historical attractions are outdoors. We’re all spending a lot more time outdoors to help maintain social distancing, so it’s the perfect time to check out the Top 5 Outdoor Historical Attractions You Must See in Anderson County. Grab your loved ones, hit the road and uncover the past in Anderson County…

Coal Creek Cannon in Rocky Top

The cannon atop Militia Hill is a must see for all history buffs. The Tennessee Militia built Fort Anderson on Militia Hill during the Coal Creek War in 1892 as a base to fight miners who opposed the use of convict labor in area coal mines. Not wanting to kill innocent bystanders, only to restore order, the militia routinely fired cannons filled with mud into the town of Coal Creek (now Rocky Top). Today you can see the trenches that were dug and the replica of the cannon.  Click here for directions.  Learn more about the Coal Creek War at the Coal Miners Museum when it reopens to the public.  

International Friendship Bell

8,000 pounds of bronze cast with images that symbolize the peace and friendship shared by Japan and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Though World War II divided this country and Japan, two Oak Ridge citizens suggested the Japanese-style bell as a symbol of unity as Oak Ridge, born of the war, celebrated its 50th birthday in 1992-93. To read more about the International Friendship Bell, click here. Just a short walk from the bell, is the Secret City Commemorative Walk. The memorial’s oval walkway features 10 bronze plaques that tell the story of Oak Ridge and its role in the war.

Museum of Appalachia

While not all of the Museum of Appalachia is outdoors, there is plenty to see outside. This living history museum lends voice to the people of Southern Appalachia through the artifacts and stories they left behind. Experience a recreated Appalachian community complete with 35 log cabins, barns, farm animals, churches, schools, gardens and more.  In addition to the outdoor exhibits, visitors can browse through 3 buildings full of artifacts from the past! Be sure to stop in the museum café from 10 am – 2 pm and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. 

Lenoir Museum Historical Complex

grist mill in norris dam state parkThe Lenoir Museum Historical ComplexAt Norris Dam State Park is a must see for Anderson County visitors. The complex includes an 18th Century Rice Grist Mill, an 1830’s Crosby Threshing Barn and the Lenoir Pioneer Museum which contains early American artifacts that have been collected for over 60 years.  You’ll be surrounded by trails and a creek for wading and the ideal spot for a picnic, so you may want to pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it. While you’re there check out what events are happening at the park. They offer a wide range of fun and educational programs for all age groups. 

Green McAdoo Statues

The Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton, Tennessee is a museum dedicated to telling the story of the Clinton 12 — the courageous young black students who in 1956 entered Clinton High School, making it the first desegregated public high school in the south. The museum is currently closed to visitors,  but don’t let that stop you from driving by and catching site of the 12 bronze, life size statues that depict each of the students as they are about to walk into Clinton High School and change history. While you’re there, browse Historic Downtown Clinton for some of the best antique and specialty shops in the south. And be sure to grab a burger and milkshake from the original 1930s soda fountain at Hoskins Drug Store.