Rugby, Tennessee was founded in a remote corner of the Upper Cumberland region as a utopian community in 1880 by noted English author Thomas Hughes. More than four hundred settlers built Gothic-style homes, but by the beginning of the 20th Century the town languished and struggled to survive for decades.
The spark of revival dates from the historic district earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. A subsequent subdivision of newer homes and the town’s pride in maintaining its original structures, including the library and church, continues to attract day-trippers and those seeking a rural, rustic B&B experience just an hour and a half drive from Knoxville.
Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Historic Rugby volunteer, Wayne Bowman for the rest of the story.
Next up is a visit with Tennessee State Parks ranger and historian and reenactor, Will Kinton at the 1,200-acre Fort Loudoun Historic State Park situated on the outskirts of Vonore, Tennessee.
The park is just a one-hour drive from Knoxville but it is also a trip back in time to the era of British rule on the American frontier 260 years ago—in the midst of hostilities during the French and Indian War. Ranger Kinton also gives us a tutorial in operating a flintlock musket and bayonet.
You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory, Apple Podcast, iHeartRadio, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Honolulu based, Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.