Preserving our past for our future
An archive of pictures, documents, and stories relating to Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, Tennessee
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
Please Donate to BMPA History!
Sep 2023 – After discovering a 1978 audio cassette interview with John and Ollie Quillen, MANY new facts and stories have been learned and documented!
- The dam cracked and leaked after the first year of construction, requiring the columns/steps (“braces”) to be added in the second year
- The spillway has an odd rock that isn’t aligned with the others. Can you find it? John Quillen told us who did it and why there’s a $100 bounty on that rock!
- About 1 week after the dam was finished and water was filling the reservoir, someone secretly opened the valve, letting the water back out. Who? Why? (Hint: they had a very good/honorable reason!)
Come to our history talks to hear these new stories and more!
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
- 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
- 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?