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Old 10-15-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
Liberia OP
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Old Stone Fort State Historic Park - Manchester, TN

In support of the 54 Tennessee State Parks Ride Collaborative thread (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=832714) and as an additional stop on my Tims Ford State Park visit from Saturday (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=833139), this is a ride report for Old Stone Fort State Historic Park at the outskirts of Manchester, Tennessee.

In the interest of full disclosure (it is 3 weeks to the presidental election you know), I want you to know that some of the pictures are from a visit I made here back in July while the rest are from this past Saturday. There was a wedding going on at the visitor's center/museum this time so I went back and picked up pictures and commentary about that part from the previous visit.

Picking up where I left off in Winchester, TN


Leaving the Oldham Theater on the town square in Winchester, TN, I take US 41A north. (The first number in a bracket is the distance on that road. The second number in brackets is the accumulative distance for this segment. Since I actually started in Tims Ford SP, I'm already at 11.1 miles when this report starts.)

Left onto US 41A/TN 16/TN 50 [2.6] [13.7]
Right onto TN 127 [11.3] [25.0]
Left onto US 41 [9.5] [34.5]
Left onto Stone Fort Dr. [0.7] [35.2]

This was the planned route. If you've read any of my other ride reports you'll find that I can be a little directionally challenged. As it turns out, I didn't look at these directions when I left Winchester. So when I was riding along on 41A I remember seeing the road sign for TN 127 and thinking, "I should take that road one day." Of course today was the day I should have taken it. So I stayed on a 4 lane road quite a bit longer than I had to.

Soon enough I arrive at Old Stone Fort State Historical Park. I'm not sure what makes a State park historical versus not historical. I'm guessing that it has something to do with it being there for some reason other than recreation. But that's only a guess.


Now that I notice the sign, it says "Archaeological." So I'm not the only one confused.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Across the Bridge to Camp (pics from 7/21/12 visit)

Shortly after entering the park (it's not a very large place as Tennessee State Parks go) you see a sign saying campgrounds are to the right. To get there you have to cross a single lane bridge which looks interesting.


I was there just after the park opened so it was still damp from the rains last night. I found the bridge to be a little slippery to walk on so was careful as I drove and parked on it.


This is the Duck River and it runs quite a long way through this part of Tennessee. Like many Tennessee "rivers," it's not very big. Of course when you consider the Mississippi I guess we do have at least one that's quite large. It's a little deeper than normal here because there is a dam just out of sight.


The bridge really isn't that long but the narrowness of it makes it look long in the photograph. I think they did a good job of building an older style bridge that's in keeping with the nature of the park.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:01 AM   #3
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What a difference a day makes (84 of them to be exact)

These are the pictures from Saturday's ride.


Parked in front of the bridge to the camping area.


Notice how much lower the water is this time versus the pictures above. Given the recent rains we've had, I'm not sure why it is so much lower unless they are releasing more at the small dam (that you'll see shortly).

There were a lot of people camping this time. I'm guessing the good weather that was predicted and the lateness in the camping season had everyone trying to get in a last weekend of fun.

I have some video of the camping area that I'll add as soon as I can do a little editing.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:04 AM   #4
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The museum


Even though this is a small park, it does have a museum. It is small as well and they seem to be making changes because things were a little out-of-sorts inside.


These are some of the things found (or perhaps recreated) from the early excavations that occurred here around 1928. The material says that the American Indians that created the large mound area here did so about 2,000 years ago.


A local artist made up this "map" of the area. It's a little different in that it's bent at what ends up being a 90 degree angle which lets you view more of it at the same time.


My father was a Game Warden for the State of Florida for 24 years. He used to find arrowheads in the "deer woods" as he was going about his daily work. Most were unearthed by the logging crews that worked for Buckeye Cellulose. At one time we had a small grocery sack full of them. Most were not as nice as these however.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:09 AM   #5
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The dam


In front of the museum there is a model of a dugout canoe. I believe this was done as an example of how the original indians here went about the process. I don't think that a canoe made from a log this small would be of much use if it would float at all. I'm sure that the size of trees were significantly larger before all the clear cutting was done in past decades. There are some nice "second growth" trees in the park however.


One of the neatest things about the museum is that it's built into the side of the hill leading down to the river. The top is a flat stone enclosure which gives a nice view of the river below. This is the dam that I'll show you up close a little later.


I'm not much of a fan of pictures of signs because they usually don't come out very well (as evidenced by this one). However, the discussion of how this indian mound was misnamed a fort by the early white settlers was informative to me and helped me understand why they made this a State Park.


Here's another sign (I know, I know) which provides a little more information about the "fort."
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #6
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An actual picture of the dam and the "fort"


Due to the recent rains there is a lot of water coming over and around the dam. I was here a year or two ago and it had much less water and you could see that the dam actually have openings behind the curtain of water. The dam is built on an angle and you can actually stand behind the falling water and under the dam.


Immediately below the dam the water turns back into its normal, shallow self. Although today it's a little more active due to the large amount of water.


This is actually the "fort." It looks like a large field cleared in the middle of a forest which is, I guess, about what it is. The park literature calls it a "mound" and I do think that it says the top was flattened out after the trees were cleared. So I guess we've been damaging the environment for at least 2,000 years around here.


When I was walking back to the parking area for the next part of the trip I saw a park ranger and a volunteer both trying to start a fire using the bow and string method. It looked like a lot of work to me and, since I had money for a pack of matches, I moved along.
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