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Port Royal State Park Announces New Interpretive Exhibits

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | 04:24am
ADAMS, Tenn. – Port Royal State Park today announced the installation of five new outdoor interpretive exhibits, designed to tell the story of the area’s history including information about the town of Port Royal and the Trail of Tears. 
 
“As the first outdoor interpretative signage in the park, this is a great milestone toward our efforts to enhance visitors’ experiences in Port Royal State Park,” said Park Manager Allen Fenoseff. “These new exhibits will educate park visitors about the historic significance of Port Royal and the part this area played in shaping the state of Tennessee.” 
 
Because Port Royal played such an important role in how travelers or settlers passed through Tennessee, transportation themes are prominently featured as part of the local community’s history.
 
Port Royal was the site of one of the earliest Colonial communities and trading posts in Middle Tennessee. Today, visitors can stroll through the park and still see the foundation remains of original homesteads, stores and warehouses all dating back to the 18th century.
 
Settled in the early 1780s, Port Royal was a known Longhunter camp as early as 1775. The town of Port Royal was founded in 1797 and rose to great prominence in the early part of the 19th century because of its strategic location at the headwaters of the Red River, serving all of northern Middle Tennessee and South Central Kentucky through a major stagecoach route.
 
“Situated at an important junction of roads and rivers, Port Royal became the only stop in Tennessee on what was called the ‘Great Western Road’ stagecoach line between Nashville and Golconda, Ill. and served as such until the 20th century,” added Fenoseff.
 
Preserved within the park is an excellent example of an early Pratt truss-designed steel bridge, which was built in 1887. This bridge spans the Sulphur Fork Creek and offers visitors a picturesque vantage point of both the Red River and the Sulphur Fork Creek. This bridge is available to foot traffic only.
 
There also are existing remains of several old roadbeds with one dating back to prehistoric times, including the certified Trail of Tears National Historic Trail site. The Trail of Tears commemorates the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands in the Southeastern United States and the paths they traveled westward in 1838 and 1839. Diary records of their removal mentioned Port Royal, the last stop before leaving Tennessee, as an encampment site where the Cherokee stayed overnight to re-supply, grind corn and rest.
 
Below is a brief description of the five new outdoor exhibits:
  • The first exhibit is located in the park’s upper parking lot and discusses when and why Port Royal was founded and its general importance to state history.
  • A second panel, located adjacent to the old stagecoach inn foundation, describes some of the stores and businesses that were located at Port Royal over the course of 150 years.
  • The three Trail of Tears exhibits are located adjacent to the certified Trail of Tears trail section. One features a map of the various removal routes taken by the Cherokee to the west, another panel discusses Port Royal's role as a supply station along the removal route, and the last panel is a map of the trail section within the park.
The three Trail of Tears interpretive panels were produced in cooperation with the National Park Service’s National Trails office and will help maintain continuity between other certified Trail of Tears sites.
 
Located in Adams, Tenn., Port Royal State Park is a day-use park. In 1977, the state of Tennessee received the deed to 26 acres of land in the Port Royal area and designated it as a state historic park in 1978. In addition to its many historic features, the park offers boating, fishing and hiking. For more information about the park, including directions, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/PortRoyal.
 
Tennessee's 53 state parks offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com.
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