My World: Hensley Settlement

Sign at the entrance to Hensley Settlement on Brush Mountain, Cumberland Gap Historical National Park. September 23, 2010.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

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.

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13 Responses to “My World: Hensley Settlement”

  1. Mildred Says:

    I enjoy tours like this very much. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Have a great day George.

  2. Becky Says:

    That must have been a great tour…I’m enjoying the geo tracker info…since I know nothing about it!!!

  3. Fishing Guy Says:

    George: Wonderful photos on a super day. thanks for sharing your trip.

  4. MaryBeth Says:

    What an interesting place. Sad about the farmhouse burning down, although the remains are quite striking. So the settlement was kind of like a commune—what happened in 1951 to end the settlement? Thanks for the tour. MB

  5. Sylvia Kirkwood Says:

    What a terrific tour, George! I’m so glad you took us along! Your photos are the very next best thing to being there. Love all the information that you’ve shared with us as well! Hope you have a wonderful week!


  6. busy bee suz Says:

    This looks like a very interesting place to visit. So sad about the fire and the cabin though.

  7. Rajesh Says:

    Wonderful shots of historical sight. I am amused at how they lived on the mountain top away from other civilization.

  8. Ginny Hartzler Says:

    So the people actually lived there til 1951? What happened then? Did the settlement get too dilapidated and they had to leave? I await the rest of your story.

  9. Neal Says:

    I really like that place. Like I told Betsy, I along with my brother and sister-in-law walked up the gravel road to the settlement about 3-4 years ago. I believe it’s about 5 miles up there but we really enjoyed it. We took some water and something to eat and ate after we got up there. Patti and I want to walk up there again. She’s never done it but would really enjoy it I know.

  10. Rose Says:

    I hate to admit it but I have never been up there…maybe someday.

  11. Pam Says:

    What a beautiful area this is, George. You two find the most interesting places.

    Thanks for the wonderful journey 😉

  12. Kathy Ariano Says:

    So beautiful and also so important that these sites are preserved.

  13. Sky Rider Says:

    Thanks for visiting. Willie Gibbons and Sherman Hensley were my great grand fathers and its nice to know that folks outside the family find Hensley settlement as important and magickal as we do.

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