Coal Creek to Lake City
History of Lake City — 1976
Reflection on the Water
Coal Creek Picturesque,
Wild At Times
Walter B. Palmer, well-known Nashville newspaper writer in the 1890’s, when he was in the area reporting on the Coal Creek War, described the Creek and its surroundings:
“Coal Creek is by odds the biggest coal mining point in Tennessee. The town is on the creek from which it takes its name, and which empties into the Clinch River four miles below. The creek is pretty enough to attract a landscape artist’s eye. Within the limits of the city it is spanned by several bridges, and there is a mill dam and a saw mill falling into decay that a Kodak friend would consider a splendid subject for a photo.
Rising immediately on the west slope of this settlement are very high and very steep hills. In a valley between them descends the creek . . . going upstream, one fork leads to Briceville, about five miles. The railroad forms a ‘Y’ and a line goes up each branch of the creek. The town stretches up each line for some distance. The creek, from the fork up, separates the Cumberland Mountains from Walden’s Ridge. A quarter of a mile beyond the ‘Y’ are the military camp and stockades . . .
A typical mountain stream, Coal Creek is shallow and rather swift, containing smooth stones and boulders rising out of the water, some of them large enough to accommodate a picnic party of several persons.
Before the days of the automobile, a favorite Sunday afternoon pastime of young and old throughout the area was a strolling up or down the railroad which runs alongside the creek. There were splendid places to rest or take pictures along the creek, which could be crossed at short intervals by stepping stones. Coal trains did not run on Sunday and these tracks were used as a thoroughfare as much or more than the dirt road which ran along the other side of the creek.”
[Submitted by Brenda Foster]