We are nearing the end of our Tour of the Upper Cumberlands and this stop in Crossville is a very familiar one to me and to all of my regular blog readers. I’ll link some past articles where I can in this week’s story.
For most of my life, Crossville was "town", it was THE PLACE to go if you needed anything. Going ‘off the mountain’ was not something we routinely did, therefore Cookeville wasn’t a regular destination and we certainly didn’t go to Knoxville, Chattanooga or Nashville unless someone was very sick or coming in on an airplane – and the two were equally rare.
Crossville has changed so much in my lifetime that it’s really hard for me to imagine what people who well-remember the town in 1940 must think. The March of Progress booklet notes that it has a population of 2,000 people in town. Compare that to the 2013 population of 11,246 and we can already see the immense change. In 1940, there was “a $20,000 air-conditioned moving house” – ah that would have been the old Palace Theatre which very thankfully has now been fully restored and continues to be a source of entertainment for Cumberland County.
When this historic booklet was produced, the CCC’s still had two companies at work in what is now The Cumberland Mountain State Park. The book notes the recreational opportunities at the park as well as mentioning a total of ten lakes in Cumberland County for fishing.
The Homesteads, which we’ve previously discussed here, are mentioned especially noting the hosiery mill and furniture factories located there.
Overall, this article seems to be recruiting farmers as it notes that only 20 percent of the county is currently in farms. There are several mentions that homes and land can be had at very low cost and the profitability of livestock and vegetables are strongly touted.
Only passing mention is given to Pleasant Hill. The Pleasant Hill Academy had been in operation since 1884 and in the early 1920’s a medical clinic was established there which would grow into the modern Cumberland Medical Center (we’ve discussed that here in regards to health care on the mountain). However, I suppose by 1940 the focus of Cumberland County had adequately shifted to Crossville so that the author of this promotional booklet felt little attention was needed in Pleasant Hill. The academy would close just seven years later and by 1950 the Uplands Hospital would have relocated to the south side of Crossville as Cumberland Medical Center.