Explore History

 Burritt College was a college located in Spencer, Tennessee, United States. Established in 1848, it was one of the first coeducational institutions in the South, and one of the first state-chartered schools in south-central Tennessee. Operating under the auspices of the Churches of Christ, the school offered a classical curriculum, and stressed adherence to a strict moral and religious code. While the school thrived under the leadership of presidents such as William Davis Carnes (1850–1858, 1872–1878) and William Newton Billingsley (1890–1911), it struggled to compete for students after the establishment of state colleges and public high schools in the early 20th century, and was forced to close in 1939.  [wikipedia]

Learn  more about Van Buren Area History by visiting the Burritt College Museum.  The museum is open to the public with a new summer schedule. Hours of operation are Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday 1-3 p.m. It is located at 132 College Street. School groups and other groups are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Bonnie Adcock at 931-316-1969.


July 20-22 2018

The Rhea Heritage Foundation exists to celebrate the history, heritage and culture of Rhea County through diverse programs, exhibits, and preservation of resources.RHPF primary focus is presentation of the annual Scopes Festival. Presented each July, the festival seeks to recreate something of the atmosphere that surrounded the 1925 Scopes Trial, and to present a historically accurate play about the trial. RHPF has developed a sound and light show which is available in the Circuit Courtroom of the Rhea County Courthouse. This show presents highlights of the Scopes play Front Page News and provides information about the Scopes Trial.

[The front Page News]                                  [What is the Scopes Trial?]


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Historic Coke Ovens – In 1899, a coal mine was opened on Fredonia Mountain overlooking Dunlap, Tennessee. For the next quarter century, the mining operations grew into an industrial complex that contributed greatly to the thriving economy and evolving social structure of a small town. Constructed at the base of the mountain were a series of “beehive” ovens, designed to turn coal into coke for use in the iron and steel foundries of nearby Chattanooga.  [Cokeovens.com]


The Sam (Bud) H. Werner Military Museum opened in Spring of 2017 to showcase Mr. Werner’s extensive collection of military vehicles and other artifacts. He has been collecting military artifacts for over 50 years. His collection encompasses items from WWI to the present. The museum showcases each of these items in the hope that it will pay tribute to our brave veterans and serve as a reminder for our younger generations.  [Sam Werner Museum]


The Buttonwillow Civil War Dinner Theater is an experience you won’t forget. Admission includes a delicious dinner with antebellum-style dishes followed by an entertaining & informative play based on the Civil War, “It is a tender tale of a die-hard Unionist and his Confederate brother from eastern Tennessee. The story is crafted to engage the casual visitor, as well as inform the serious scholar. Audiences find themselves caught up in this amusing encounter as if they were, themselves, back in 1864.”      buttonwillowchurch.com


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The Black House  is the oldest remaining house in McMinnville, Tennessee. Built on acreage that was originally outside the city limits of McMinnville, this house is a good example of the Federal style that once lined our city’s streets.

Jesse Coffee built the home in 1825, but removed himself and his family to Viola the next year. A Confederate surgeon, Thomas Black (1837-1904), purchased the home in the days after the War Between the States and maintained his clinic and office there.

His granddaughter, Jean Leonard, deeded the house and contents to the Eagle Fund for restoration in the mid-1980s. The house has been partially restored and includes many period furnishings throughout the home.
After many years of restoration, The Black House has opened its’ doors to the public for tours.

[Historic Black House]

Hamilton Dry Goods is a step back into history from the time you pull into the parking lot.  The items available inside are for the real historian.  Period clothing is can be purchased from a variety of generations from as far back as the revolutionary war. The true-to-period clothing is not always the most comfortable, but it is on spot accurate. Browse the collection of swords, knifes, canteens, and other accessories to enhance a centuries old wardrobe.   [Hamilton Dry Goods]

For a history buff, deciding to visit Chattanooga is a no-brainer. The challenge comes when deciding what to do when you get here. Few places in the country can claim such a rich concentration of historical events, ranging from Paleolithic Native Americans to Civil War battles to the rise and fall of the Iron Horse. Below are some of Chattanooga’s top historical hot spots.

Battles For Chattanooga Flags
Battles For Chattanooga Museum –  Located on top of Lookout Mountain across from Point Park Battlefield. A 3-dimensional presentation of Chattanooga’s Civil War history featuring theater-seating and audio tape presentation. Hear the sounds of battle as you learn about Lookout Mountain’s ‘Battle Above the Clouds’ and Sherman’s assault on Missionary Ridge before his famous ‘March to the Sea’. On display are weapons, guns, equipment, and other Civil War artifacts. Bookstore and gift shop. 


Cannons firingThe oldest and largest of America’s Civil War parks, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park , commemorates the 1863 battles for Chattanooga that marked a major turning point in the war. The park is headquartered at Chickamauga Battlefield, where the fields and woods of northwest Georgia witnessed the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War. The Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center includes extensive exhibits, the Fuller Gun Collection, an orientation film and fiber optic map, maps of hiking and biking routes, and information on how to experience the Civil War history offered at the park units.   [Chickamauga Museum]

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