Building history: WRSP constructing a Cherokee village

Published 9:19 am Friday, June 8, 2018

Wilderness Road State Park is dedicated to bringing the history of the pioneer era to life in the most accurate way possible. The park is known for its recreations of frontier life with dedicated actors, period-appropriate tools, clothing, food and practices — as well as holding annual events such as the Raid on Martins Station that bring the past into the present for all to experience.

Starting on June 9, Wilderness Road State Park employees and volunteers will begin the construction of a Cherokee village that will be located in the park’s historic area.

Historically, according to, the Cherokee resided in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. The Cherokee were part of three different tribes that occupied Virginia during that period. The other two were Powhatan and the Monacan.

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To create the Cherokee village, the staff and volunteers will only be using period accurate tools for the job as well as period accurate building methods.

Native American re-enactors will be constructing both a summer house and a winter house — which was the tradition of the Cherokee villages.

According to, the winter homes were round and made of wood and covered in mud to insulate against the cold. The Cherokee would burn fires in the center of the winter homes, and a hole in the roof would allow the smoke to escape.

The summer homes were larger and made in a rectangular shape with long sticks and roofs made of bark covered in grass. These homes were designed to be airy and as cool as possible while also letting the light of the day in.

Wilderness Road State Park invites the public out to see the construction of this building in action. For more information contact the park at 276-445-3065.