Preserving our past for our future

An archive of pictures, documents, and stories relating to Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, Tennessee

Favorite Stories...

How Bays Mountain got its name

Early settlers on the mountain

That time that Ruby Nelms fell off the mountain!

How Hugh Hamblen lived to regret teaching his wife to read and write

Why 14-yr-old John Fincher had to return from Chattanooga alone

Life as a 1953 Fire Tower Lookout on Bays Mountain

Odell Harbour Depew, schoolteacher on Bays Mountain in 1915

Moonshine Stills, including a 1966 series of newspaper articles

Building the Dam

Please Donate to BMPA History!

To support this site and other Bays Mountain history-related Features & Programs, please Donate to the BMPA History Committee. All proceeds go towards research and public programs!

Recent Updates

Feb 2023

Added an 11-part series of newspaper articles on moonshine from Nov 1966

The BMPA History Committee and park staff have:

  • Cleaned up an old homesite with two foundations on Lake Road near Ledbetter Gap
  • Established a moonshine still exhibit on Chinquapin Trail
  • Installed a history panel at the Bays Mountain Schoolhouse site

Oct/Nov 2022

  • BMPA History Committee members have discovered 3 old moonshine still sites on Bays Mountain and are working with park staff to feature the still on Chinquapin Trail

Sep 2022

  • The BMPA History Committee is investigating several fascinating topics like…

    Finding a +100 yr old trail using modern LIDAR laser technology combined with a 1916 survey map!

    Was the Bays Mountain Schoolhouse ever moved? After BMPA History volunteers confirmed finding the schoolhouse site, we now have reason to believe that earlier, the school once sat about 1/2 mile away. If so, why was it moved?

Aug 2022

  • The newly formed BMPA History Committee has implemented its first project! Visit the west end of the Dam to see a new history panel highlighting the Filter Plant Operators of the 1920s
  • Next project? A panel documenting the Bays Mountain Schoolhouse