Monday, September 21, 2009
Our Cumberland Plateau
Writing this blog has proved to be very interesting for me. I never dreamed when we bought a house on the Cumberland Plateau that we had come to such an incredibly beautiful place. We moved here for several reasons: 1. it was close to where we lived at the time--and we could come back and forth on the weekends; 2. it was known as a great area for retirees (affordable housing, great climate, lots of amenities, etc.); and 3. because we are 2000 feet above sea level, our temperatures stay cooler in the summer than nearby cities of Knoxville and Nashville.
I am a mountain girl at heart (born and raised in the mountains of southwest Virginia) and have always wanted to move back to the mountains. But when we looked at the Smokies, we didn't like the traffic and found too many people all in one place. SO--we compromised and came to the 'top' of the mountains (so to speak) and settled in a woodsy, quiet area on the Cumberland Plateau.
My blog today talks about the Cumberland Plateau--and what in the world it is!!!!! I have done alot of research and couldn't quit reading about this unique place. Do you know that the Cumberland Plateau is the largest remaining forested plateau in the United States??? It is!!! A land known for its great caves, cascading waterfalls (many of which we have visited), natural arches, and isolated river canyons, the Plateau stretches from northeast to southwest, encompassing parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
The Plateau varies in width from 50 to 70 miles, and in height from 2000 to over 4100 feet. Black Mountain, Kentucky is the highest point (4145 feet). On the east, the Plateau rises sharply from the Great Valley of East Tennessee; on the west the slope is rough and broken.
The Cumberland Plateau is often called Tennessee's secret mountain range. The Great Smoky Mountains are known around the world. The Plateau, by comparison, has been a quiet peaceful place unknown to most outsiders and even to many in our own state. (That is another thing which drew us here!)
Before Tennessee became a state in 1796, the entire area on the upper Cumberland Plateau was known as the Wilderness. Indian tribes claimed it as their hunting ground. In 1797, the community of Crab Orchard, the first named settlement in the Wilderness, was established. (Crab Orchard is close to where we live.) Crossville (about 7 miles southwest of us) was incorporated in 1901, boasting a railroad, a depot, a newspaper, a hotel, a bank, several stores, a booming lumber and coal industry and 99 people on the first tax role. (Crossville today has over 11,600 people.)
Our soil is typically thin and infertile because underneath the soil is ROCK... When we added flower beds, we had to add soil and raise them above the ground. That's another reason that we have so many of our roses in big pots on the driveway.
When hiking on the Plateau, we have seen dramatic cliffs, arches, rock shelters, chimneys and other interesting features carved into the sandstone of the Plateau. They say that the very early settlers on the Plateau made their homes in the rock shelters. This is truly an interesting place to live--especially those of us who enjoy hiking and being outdoors.
Well, thanks to people like us who BRAG, others are quickly finding out about our little paradise on the Cumberland Plateau. Tourism is GREAT---and people are moving here quite frequently. Of course, since the economy problems, our growth has slowed down some --like most everywhere else. Of course the 14 or so golf courses in the area help bring people here!!!!
But--of all the things that define us as human beings, there are two that stand above all of the rest: LOVE and PLACE. And when you can combine love and place, life takes a new dimension: a place called HOME. This great place has been preserved for all of us. George and I count our blessings everyday that we found the Cumberland Plateau. We bought our home in the Fall of 2002, and moved here fulltime in July 0f 2003.
The pictures throughout were taken by us from atop Black Mountain (near Crab Orchard) showing a view of the Cumberland Plateau in our area from different angles. All of the pictures were taken in September of 2007.
Hope you had a good weekend. We've had RAIN--RAIN---RAIN (for almost 6 days now)--with more to come. Send us some sunshine PLEASE.