Valley Views

Valley Views

August 21st, 2012 by Ben Benton in Glimpse 2012-a

Foster Falls, one area of the multi-pronged Savage Gulf State Natural Area, is in both Grundy and Sequatchie counties.

Photo by Tracey Trumbull/Times Free Press.

You'll see why people from all over the world come to call the Dunlap area home as soon as you crest the western edge of Walden's Ridge to take in the breathtaking view.

Dunlap lies in the center of the Sequatchie Valley, which is four to five miles wide for most of its 62-mile length. A drive north on U.S. Highway 127 will take you from the Chattanooga area through the pastoral beauty of the central and upper Sequatchie Valley.

--Compiled by staff writer Ben Benton

Musical history

The Dunlap Coke Ovens Festival each June attracts some of the best bluegrass musicians in rural Tennessee.

• The festival takes place on the grounds of the Coke Ovens Park and Museum.

• Featured are the Company Store, the remains of 268 beehive coke ovens and a music stage opposite a pretty hillside where the audience sits.

Source: Dunlap Coke Ovens Park and Museum website

Mining the past

• Population: 4,815

• Biggest employer: Sequatchie County Schools

• Landmarks or geographic features: Dunlap lies at the center of the Sequatchie Valley, which regional geologists say often is mistakenly called a "rift valley." The valley was actually formed as water eroded what was once the floor of a shallow sea of fissures in its surface caused by compression of the geologic plates allowed water to gradually erode its way into the earth, according to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga geology professor John Mies' website.

• Date incorporated: Incorporated as the town of Dunlap in 1909, as the city of Dunlap in 1941

• History: The first county court met at the home of Joel Wheeler in the Fillmore community on the first Monday in January 1858, when they decided to locate the county seat at a site selected on property owned by William Rankin at Coops Creek. On June 12, 1858, the name was officially changed to Dunlap in honor of William Dunlap of Knox County who had supported the creation of Sequatchie County in the state Legislature.

• Most famous residents: William Stone, of Delphi, now called Daus, and James Standifer, of Mount Airy, both served in the U.S. Congress in the 1820s and 1830s. Dunlap resident Raymond H. Cooley, a staff sergeant in the Pacific during World War II, received the Medal of Honor for his courage and heroism during the 1945 invasion of the Philippines.

• Unique tradition: The Coke Ovens bluegrass festival held each June celebrates the connection of bluegrass music to the Sequatchie Valley's coal-mining past.

• Unique characteristic: Dunlap is the seat of Sequatchie County. The county is named in connection with a Cherokee word "Sequachee," probably meaning "opossum, he grins or runs." The valley was named for a Cherokee chief.

Source: Dunlap-Sequatchie County Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Blue Book

BEST THING TO DO

The Sky's No Limit to Fun -- The Tennessee Tree Toppers is a nonprofit club of hang-gliding enthusiasts who make their home at Henson's Gap on Walden's Ridge near state Highway 111.

• The site is home to the world-famous wooden, radial launch ramp and also has campsites, a clubhouse, bathrooms and showers.

Source: Tennessee Tree Toppers website

Best place to eat and why

Cookie Jar is a Farmland Feast -- The Cookie Jar Café is on the Johnson family farm on Kelly Cross Road north of Dunlap.

• The menu includes nine entrees with special daily features.

• Diners get a view of the rolling pastures and farmland of the Sequatchie Valley.

BEST-KEPT SECRET:

Homestead longtime sustainable living model

• The Sequatchie Valley Institute began in 1971 as a family-based homestead located on the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau.

• The 300-acre homestead in the years since has been home for a sustainable lifestyle deeply integrated with the forest ecosystem.

Source: Sequatchie Valley Institute website, svionline.org

  1. FESTIVALS:

Box tease: Mining history and music from Sequatchie Valley past

• The Dunlap Coke Ovens Festival each June attracts some of the best bluegrass musicians in rural Tennessee.

• The festival takes place on the grounds of the Coke Ovens Park and Museum.

• Featured are the Company Store, the remains of 268 beehive coke ovens and a music stage sitting opposite a pretty hillside where the audience sits.

Source: Dunlap Coke Ovens Park and Museum website , www.cokeovens.com