A special view of history

Published 10:50 am Monday, September 24, 2018

On Oct. 6, everyone is invited to join park rangers as they slip away into the dusky shadows for a glimpse of the abandoned Hensley Settlement mountain top farmstead and the Appalachian history it embraces.

Park Ranger Pam Eddy explains that this old abandoned village seems more like a dream than a reality.

“These cabins and corncribs date from the early 20th Century… but they look much like typical homes built along the American frontier centuries ago. This was a kind of edge-of-the- wilderness life that was lived here and the mood of this place hasn’t changed much in that respect,” he said.

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Eddy further explained that those who wander along the fence lined paths during this event it will be as though they are looking through a window into the past. Scenes from long ago will be visible to the eye and will paint indelible memories of long ago upon our hearts and minds.

Visitors are invited to drive their personal four-wheel drive vehicles up to Hensley Settlement via the Shillalah Creek Road for this magical sojourn at eventide. The Shillalah Creek Road will be open only to “up” traffic from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Rangers stress that no vehicles will be allowed to drive up the road after 5:30 p.m. The road will be open only to “down” traffic beginning at 7 p.m. All vehicles must depart the settlement by 8 p.m.

Vehicles must be four-wheel-drive to navigate the one-lane gravel road to the mountaintop. Passengers are not allowed to ride in truck beds. ATVs are not permitted. $10 fee per vehicle must be paid before at the visitor center. No tickets will be sold after 4:30 pm on Oct. 6.

The Shillalah Creek Road is 30 minutes from the visitor center via roads where no gas is available. From the park visitor center, visitors should travel the Pinnacle Road to County Road 988 (Sugar Run). Travel on County Road 988 for three miles. Visitors should then proceed east on County Road 217, approximately four miles to the Shillalah Creek Road. As the Shillalah Creek Road is a 30-minute drive from the visitor center, visitors must plan accordingly.

Warm cloths are encouraged by park workers. If rain interrupts the event, it will be canceled.

For more information on this or other ranger-guided programs, please call the park visitor center at (606) 246-1075. This program is made possible through generous from Eastern National and the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Eastern National supports the interpretive and educational mission of the National Park Service. Learn more by visiting www.easternnational.org. For more information on the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and how to become involved, find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/friendsofcumberlandgap