Looking at Grundy Lakes today, you’d hardly know this was a coal mining and processing plant 100 years ago. The Lone Rock Coke Ovens coal processing facility operated here for many years in the late 19th and early 20th Century. After it was abandoned in the 1920s, it was an environmental and visual eyesore. When the Civilian Conservation Corps program began in the depths of the American Depression, in the 1930s, cleaning up this area was a priority project for the CCC Company assigned to this area.
The heart of their project would be clean-up of the industrial remnants, and construction of a new dam and lake. After the 154-acre property was donated to the State of Tennessee by the Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company, CCC Company 1475 reclaimed the land, built the dam that created the lake, planted new trees and foliage, and constructed recreational facilities
To build the main 13-acre lake, the CCC Boys had to move more than 15,000 yards of dirt. The project also included rehabilitation of two smaller lakes for use as a fish hatchery. This considerable effort transformed what had been a wasteland and
an eyesore into new recreational opportunities for a community that had been devastated by the Great Depression.
These are driving directions from the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center: Grundy Lakes is one-half mile south of downtown Tracy City; look for the large brown park sign and turn left on Lakes Road; from there, it’s one-half mile to the park entrance.
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