Sign at the entrance to Hensley Settlement on Brush Mountain, Cumberland Gap Historical National Park. September 23, 2010.
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Last week Betsy and I went to Kentucky to visit some places we’ve long talked about. On Thursday we went to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in the mountains where Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee come together.
The first thing we did was take a tour of Hensley Settlement, a community that existed from 1903 – 1951 atop Brush Mountain. We were driven to the settlement in a Park Service van along some ‘interesting’ mountain roads. Once we got to the settlement, we had a walking tour through the community and into some of the buildings.
Our guide through Hensley Settlement, Ronny Oplinger, the grandson of one of the founders of the settlement. September 23, 2010.
The guide on the day we were there was the grandson of one of the founders of the community. It was definitely interesting to hear his family stories as we walked through the community.
The Lige Gibbons Farm, Hensley Settlement. September 23, 2010.
The Lige Gibbons Farm is one of the preserved homesteads on the mountain. This farm is in a pretty little hollow on the mountain top.
Ruins of the Willie Gibbons House, Hensley Settlement. September 23, 2010.
Unfortunately, preserved doesn’t always mean protected. This is the ruins of the Willie Gibbons house. It was built in 1904 and was the most unique cabin on the mountaintop. It was larger than most and had a double fireplace. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire in 2000 and there are no longer any American Chestnut logs big enough to rebuild it as it was.
There are many more things to see in Hensley Settlement and I will post more after I get through some of the pictures we took. The map above of our visit to Hensley Settlement was created on Google Earth using data from our geotagger. The yellow line is our track, and I’ve noted some of the main features of the settlement. If you ever get the chance to visit this site, I urge you to do so. I think you will enjoy it.