Explore the History of the East Tennessee River Valley at the East Tennessee History Fair

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From the days when the Cherokee Nation still walked this land to America's first frontier to Civil War battles and the Manhattan Project of World War II, the East Tennessee River Valley evokes history at every turn. The sense of history that still lives in the hills, mountains, and valleys of this storied land is especially evident at the East Tennessee History Fair to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 18. The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide, a partnership with National Geographic Society, provides a unique interactive online travel planning guide to exploring this and other distinctive heritage, culture, and outdoor adventure opportunities in this region.

Enjoy the Living History Timeline, from the Cherokee to WWII

East Tennesseans love their history. And they love to share it with others. It’s amazing to see the creativity generated by all the organizations, sites, and museums working to preserve and showcase this history for the public – for locals and visitors.

From the days when the Cherokee Nation still walked this land to America's first frontier to Civil War battles and the Manhattan Project of World War II, the East Tennessee River Valley evokes history at every turn.This sense of history that still lives in the hills, mountains, and valleys of this storied land is especially evident at the East Tennessee History Fair to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 18. The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide, a partnership with National Geographic Society, provides a unique online travel planning guide to exploring this and other distinctive heritage, culture, and outdoor adventure opportunities in this region.

The 2012 East Tennessee History Fair, presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society, along with dozens of businesses, historical organizations, museums, musicians and individuals, will celebrate the region’s history with reenactments, tours and activities suitable for the whole family. Activities include a living history timeline; live music and historic craft demonstrations; Davy Crockett's birthday party; walking tours of downtown with Knox Heritage; tours of First Presbyterian Church Cemetery and stained glass windows; Civil War bus tours and tours of Knoxville's historic homes; "History Hound" dog costume contest; vintage films; displays at Art Market Gallery; genealogy workshops and book signings at Mast General Store; farmers market, and much more. The Fair will take place at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 Gay Street, Knoxville, from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free to the public. For more information on the East Tennessee History Fair including a schedule of events, click here.

“East Tennesseans love their history. And they love to share it with others” says Cherel Henderson, Director, East Tennessee Historical Society. “It’s amazing to see the creativity generated by all the organizations, sites, and museums working to preserve and showcase this history for the public – for locals and visitors alike.”

But this is just an introduction to the wealth of heritage sites, tours, and experiences available throughout the East Tennessee River Valley, a region of great natural beauty, diverse history, culture, and world class outdoor adventure nestled in the Appalachians and stretching from the Smoky Mountains to North Georgia along the Tennessee River Valley. For example:

  •     The region includes many important Civil War sites, such as the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Lookout Mountain, Georgia; reenactments, such as the Battle of Tunnel Hill in Dalton Georgia; and a self-guided tour, Southeast Tennessee Civil War Trails, of many important sites.
  •     The heritage of the Cherokees is featured at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, TN; the Chief Vann House, the home of a great Cherokee leader and successful businessman in Chattsworth, Georgia; and Cherokee Removal Memorial Park at Historic Blythe Ferry in Birchwood, TN, providing interpretive exhibits and an annual festival dedicated to those that died and those that cried in what has become known as the “Trail of Tears”.
  •     Mountain music and culture may be found at the Museum of Appalachia, an Appalachian farm-village with three dozen historic log structures, exhibit halls, and gardens and farm animals in Clinton, TN. The Museum will host its Tennessee Fall Homecoming, a three day celebration of authentic old-time music and pioneer skills in October. The Appalachian Quilt Trail takes visitors to over 500 century farms, artist galleries, local eateries and more distinguished by a unique quilt block.
  •     In the more modern era, the power of the Tennessee Valley Authority in harnessing the Tennessee River for flood control, power production, economic development, and recreation can be seen at the seven dams and reservoirs in the region, including Norris Dam, begun in 1933. The American Museum of Science & Energy explores the story of Oak Ridge, TN, often referred to as the Secret City because it sprang up almost overnight to house workers for the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb.

The East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide provides a unique interactive online travel planning guide to the distinctive heritage, culture, and outdoor adventure opportunities in the region. The MapGuide, a partnership with National Geographic Society, is one of only 11 online geotourism mapguides in the world. It gives the visitor a real understanding of the rich, diverse heritage, sites and experiences of the East Tennessee River Valley. “Visitors may develop a travel itinerary, nominate their own favorite places, and share their own great experiences to help others plan their trips on this website.” says Jane Fowler, Project Coordinator, East Tennessee River Valley Geotourism MapGuide. Click here for a link to the MapGuide. A Mobile App is available for free download to guide visitors as they journey throughout the region.

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