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EXPLORING BEERSHEBA SPRINGS

 

Beersheba Springs quickly gained recognition as a summer resort town after Beersheba Porter Cain of McMinnville discovered a mineral spring here in 1833. Soon after, a tavern and some cabins were added, and the area became popular with travelers along the McMinnville-to-Chattanooga Stagecoach Route. Cain’s spring was located along an ancient trail system known as the Chickamauga Trace, which was utilized by early indigenous people, as well as peoples from the Cherokee, Chickamauga and Creek nations.

In 1854, John Armfield of Louisiana bought the property and built the luxurious Beersheba Springs Resort to overlook the Collins River valley. The resort became well-known throughout the South, featuring billiard rooms and bowling alleys, French chefs and musical acts from New Orleans.

The resort suffered from pillages and abuse during the Civil War and was closed. It reopened in the 1870s but never returned to its former glory. In 1941, the United Methodist Church acquired the hotel for conferences and group retreats.

The Beersheba Springs Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the homes in Beersheba Springs trace their origins to the mid-1800s. The Old Brown Museum, a former country store, now serves as a community museum documenting the history of Beersheba Springs. Each year, the town hosts the Beersheba Springs Arts and Crafts Festival on the grounds of the Assembly.

Beersheba Springs serves as the gateway to the Big Creek area of Savage Gulf, via the Savage Gulf North trailhead in South Cumberland State Park.