What to do in Norris Dam State Park

Norris Dam State Park has many historic sites and museums to see during your visit. The 18th Century Rice Grist Mill was originally constructed in 1798 along Lost Creek. This mill was operated by four generations of the Rice family. The mill has had many changes throughout its history. At times, the mill was also rigged to power a sawmill, a cotton gin, a trip hammer, and even to operate a dynamo that supplied electrical lights for the Rice home in 1899.

TVA purchased the land the mill stood on which was to be flooded by the building of Norris Dam. The mill was carefully disassembled and reassembled much of the structure at its present site.
The mill still grinds corn meal in the summer.

Inside the Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn, oxen once generated the threshing machine. The barn stood for about 100 years along the north side of the Holston River. The land was to be flooded by the building of Cherokee Dam, so the family donated the barn to the National Park Service. The barn remained there dismantled for 34 years. In 1978, the barn was reconstructed at its present site.

Will G. Lenoir donated much of the contents of the Museum to the State of Tennessee for permanent display. He collected for more that 60 years with a desire that the rapidly changing times not wipe out an appreciation of the hard work and ingenuity that were a part of the everyday life that was disappearing. It was not only the item, but also the stories of the people behind them he cared about. Mr. Lenoir enjoyed sharing his stories with Museum visitors until his death at 97.

When you visit the Lenoir Museum, make sure and get a close look at this antique barrel organ. During restoration, a German newspaper dated 1826 was found inside. The organ plays ten different tunes with 110 wood pipes to make the music. Also, with the turning of one hand crank, four stages of figures perform. In all, 44 figures are in action. These figures include dancers dancing, a clown clowning, foot soldiers marching, a woman churning and a blacksmith hard at work.

Other sites of interest include-Norris Dam State Park is situated less than 30 minutes from six different public golf courses, two hours from 19 different courses. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Big South Fork Recreation Area and Cumberland Gap National Historic Area are all within 90 minutes. For shoppers, adjacent to the Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, hundreds of outlet shops are on hand. In Oak Ridge, the American Museum of Science and Energy will tell you the story of the atomic age and the role it played. Birthplace of Alvin C. York, America's most decorated World War 1 soldier, is just two hours to the west. If you're lucky, you'll be greeted and provided a tour by Park Ranger Andy York, son of Alvin. His personal accounts are priceless.

Recreation
Fishing, camping, hiking and boating are available at this park. There are several historic sites and a museum to see here. The park recreation center is located at the Village Green Complex. Badminton, volleyball, basketball and many other activities are available to park visitors. Equipment may be checked out at the park office.

Location
From Knoxville, travel north on I-75. Take exit 128 and go 2.5 miles south on Hwy. 441 to the entrance of the park.

Climate
Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees. Summer's full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cool fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant fall colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall foliage.

Address
125 Village Green Circle
Lake City, TN 37769-5932

Phone: 865-426-7461

  • Norris Dam State Park Travel Q&A

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