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EXPLORING TRACY CITY

 

Soon after the Civil War, the nearly-bankrupt Tennessee Coal and Railroad Company (“TC&R”) was acquired by entrepreneur Arthur St. Clair Colyar. Tracy City was created as a company town, named after company financier Samuel F. Tracy. Impressive postwar growth in the company’s stock value resulted in TC&R’s inclusion in the very first Dow Jones Industrial Average for the New York Stock Exchange.

Much of Tracy City’s historic downtown traces its origin to the period of TC&R’s most rapid expansion, between 1875 and 1895. At one point, Tracy City was one of the ten largest cities in Tennessee. The town included an impressive school, the Shook School, known locally as “the college.” Historic businesses in Tracy City include the Dutch Maid Bakery, which first opened in 1902; the Marugg Company; and Henry Flury & Sons General Store.

The coke ovens at the nearby Grundy Lakes Historic Area are some of the best preserved artifacts from the town’s coal mining heyday. Today, the multimodal Mountain Goat Trail traces the path of the former Mountain Goat Railroad, which ran from Cowan to Palmer. A portion of the trail can be accessed at the Tracy City Roundhouse Park. From the Fiery Gizzard North Trailhead in South Cumberland State Park, a short walk takes you to the site of a 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps workers’ camp, with an informative self- guided tour of the remaining building foundations, telling the story of the 200 young men of CCC Company 1475.

Tracy City is surrounded by the natural attractions found in South Cumberland State Park, including Foster Falls (the park’s largest waterfall), world-class rock climbing at Denny Cove and the 12-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail, rated as one of the 25 best hiking trails in the United States.