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Tennessee offers many interesting historic sites for our enjoyment

Visiting interesting places doesn’t necessarily mean leaving our great state of Tennessee. Within its length and width lie a number of great sights and activities that would rival many attractions found in other states. Tennessee is bordered by eight states: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri. Missouri is the only other state in the Union that is bordered by eight states.
Known as the Volunteer State, Tennessee’s area is about 42,144 square miles and takes in various terrains. The eastern part of the state is mountainous, the middle area of the state is a plateau, and the western part is relatively flat. The geographical center is in Rutherford County five miles northeast of Murfreesboro. You never know when you might need to know that last bit of information, eh.
Northwest Tennessee claims one of the most unique lakes in the world — Reelfoot Lake. I don’t know if any other body of water in the world has been formed in the same way as Reelfoot Lake but I doubt there have been any others. Reelfoot Lake was formed on February 7, 1812 when a violent earthquake caused a large area of land to sink some 10 feet. Water from the Mississippi River entered the depression and created the lake. The lake is situated in what is now Reelfoot Lake State Resort Park. Bald Eagles winter there. Boating, Camping and just plain sightseeing are popular activities.

Jackson Tennessee is the site of the Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum. My guess is that most of us remember the story of Casey Jones and we might even remember some of the lyrics of “The Ballad of Casey Jones,” a song made popular following Jones’ untimely death. Jones was hailed a hero for staying on the throttle as his engine with failed brakes hurled toward a freight train, thereby saving the lives of his passengers. He, though, was killed in the wreck — “Scalded to Death by the Steam,” as the song goes. On display is the ground floor of his house as it was at his death and a replica of the engine in which he died is on the grounds of the home.
Harrogate, Tennessee is home to Lincoln Memorial University. LMU, founded in 1897, was to show love and honor for the 16th U. S. President, Abraham Lincoln. LMU grew out of Lincoln’s desire to provide the people of central Appalachia an opportunity to improve their lives through education. Featured at LMU is the Lincoln Museum that houses many items that follow Lincoln’s life from being a rail-splitter to that fateful night at Ford’s Theater when he was slain. A number of Lincoln’s personal items are on display. You can depend on having an interesting time at either of the sites I’ve mentioned in this column.
While those places are rather distant, you don’t need to go far in Tennessee to find interesting things to do and places to see. Just within a short distance you can visit Backbone Rock; Watauga Lake; the Carol Reese Museum at East Tennessee State University; David Crockett’s birthplace at Limestone, Tennessee; Rocky Mount at Piney Flats, Tennessee; the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton; and the Tipton-Haynes Farm in Johnson City just to name a few.
Remember also, without leaving Johnson County we can take in a production at our beautiful Heritage Hall in Mountain City or visit Johnson County Historical Society’s museum at the Welcome Center on South Shady Street in Mountain City or the Butler Museum in Butler.