Recently while on a mini-adventure, Justin and I stumbled into a second mini-adventure. We were heading home from a drive on the Cherohala Skyway. We had hoped to watch the sunrise from one of the overlooks but it was too cloudy. So we ended up exploring Indian Boundary Lake. That’s not the adventure I want to talk about today though. On our way back home to get ready for the FamLee Halloween party, we stumbled upon Fort Loudoun State Park.
Since we had a little time to kill before we needed to head to the party, we decided to look around. We drove up and found the visitor center surrounded by stunning views of the lake. There were benches under trees on the walk up to the visitor center that one could stop at to take in the beautiful scenery.
Upon entering the visitor center, you find wonderful displays giving the history of the fort. They have a few models of the fort. There are also clothes and other artifacts on display that were found on the grounds. They even had a section built up like part of the fort which displayed an armory and a firing station with a cannon! How cool is that? The visitor center even had a screening room which played a movie of the fort’s history.
Thinking that was everything we decided to walk around the grounds some to take in the views before heading home. As we walked down the path, man, were we surprised! There was a replica of the actual fort that was built in 1759 during the French and Indian War. When we say replica, we mean it! Everything was build just as it would have been on that day. The nails were forged iron. The shingles were made by cutting chunks off a log. They even made mattresses from bags of straw. Everything was 100% as it would have been in the mid-1700’s.
For those of you who are not familiar with Fort Loudoun’s history, here’s a little background for you. In 1756 to counter the threat of French activist on the Mississippi Valley the British Colony of South Carolina sent the Independent Company of South Carolina to construct and garrison what became Fort Loudoun. This move helped to ally the Overhill Cherokee Nation in the fight against the French and guaranteed trade would continue between the Cherokee and South Carolina.
During the course of the fort’s four-year existence, relations between South Carolina and the Cherokee Nation broke down. In 1760, the Cherokee captured Fort Loudoun and its garrison. After the surrender, Fort Loudoun was never used again for any military purpose. It is thought that the Cherokees destroyed the fort sometime shortly after the English marched away.
Nature reclaimed the site and there was no public recognition of this fort until 1917. That year the Colonial Dames of America placed a commemorative marker at the Fort Loudoun site and in 1933, the General Assembly purchased the site and created the Fort Loudoun Association to manage it.
Today, the reconstructed fort and the ruins of the 1794 Tellico Blockhouse overlook TVA’s Tellico Reservoir and the Appalachian Mountains. To read more about the fort, click here to visit their website.
Before stumbling upon this state park, I never knew it existed. I have lived in this area my entire life and was not aware of this fort. I’d known there was a fort and that’s where the town got its name. But I did not know if there was a park with a replica of the fort dedicated to the history of the area.
An interesting fact that we found after discovering the park is that they do re-enactments! I don’t know about you, but that honestly sounds like a blast to me! Just this last weekend the held their “Garrison Weekend” where you can find out what life was like at Fort Loudoun. To see learn about upcoming events, click here.
The Fort Loudoun State Park offers more than just the fort replica and visitor center. The park offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals every day except on garrison weekends and special events. They also have some hiking trails available. And for all you fishermen, and women, you can fish in the park. The Tellico Lake provides fishing for bass and catfish. Their website even notes that fishing is good from the bank and the large fishing pier. Also, because the fort is surrounded by the Tellico Lake it is a great spot for birding. You can spot shorebirds, ospreys, and even bald eagles. The varied landscape of forest and fields provide a diverse habitat for migrating birds.
Thank you so much for reading!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this post! If you are in the area, we highly recommend checking out the Fort Loudoun State Park. We will definitely be heading back out there when we can spend a little more time exploring.
One thing to note though is that you should definitely wear outdoors (waterproof) shoes. When we went, the ground was very yet. And had been for some time based off the hay that covered the mud puddles. The fort is exactly as it was back in the 1700’s so it is not paved and you have a high chance of getting dirty. So dress appropriately.
Again, thank you for reading! Oh! And don’t forget to check us out on social media! We are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. For more posts about adventures, click here! Again, thank you for reading! God Bless!