Tennessee Mountain Stories

Monterey, Tennessee “Where cool breezes blow in the sultry summer”

We’ve previously visited Monterey, Tennessee a few times on this blog – and I’ve no doubt we will stop by again sometime.  Based on the amount of information given in the March of Progress book, this is a major stop on our Tour of the Upper Cumberlands.  The article integrates information about the whole Upper Cumberland area and seems to indicate that Monterey was at the heart of the march.

The book gives Monterey twelve pages, compared to two or three for most other towns.  And with good reason; in 1940 Monterey had reinvented herself after her years as a resort and rail town, she was growing up into an industrial player. 

Monterey is certainly in a geographically unique position, sitting about 100 miles from three of Tennessee’s four major cities:  Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.  Of course this triangle was formed prior to the interstate highway system when US Highway 70 was the key thoroughfare.  The railroad was still the primary mode of transportation, especially for manufactured goods.  The Tennessee Central had built their “terminal shops” in town and branch lines had been built to the coal fields that encircled Monterey.  At the time The March was written, there were four manufacturing plants as well as “several rough lumber mills” in operation in town and in its immediate vicinity. 

There was still one hotel – I believe that would have been The Imperial, which I’ve written about here.  In fact, the author of this article also mentions Monterey’s resort-town history.  Much is said about the natural beauty of the area and great recreational possibilities, indicating this would still be a worthwhile vacation destination.  There are several beautiful aerial photos of Lake Monterey with an inviting and poetic description included. 

With all of the progress reported, we are then given an appeal for factories and processing plants to be located there. 

Should the modern industrial needs not be found, there is a great mention given to the crafts in the Upper Cumberlands.  Pictures depict weaving, quilting, and knitting and text asserts that “the production of usable and saleable crafts is just another resource awaiting development” 

I’ve told you many times that these blog articles usually spring up from my research for other writing.  Even if you aren’t familiar with the mountain, reading Replacing Ann will shed great light on the importance Monterey plays in my writing.  For many years, it was the place to go to catch a train, see a doctor or do all sort so of business.  Even if Monterey isn’t the primary setting of my novels, the characters will almost always pay a visit for one reason or another.