7.15.2009,12:32 PM
Tennessee: Ironies

As we headed back to Tellico Plains on Hwy360 (an old Indian and settlers road), Jack led us off the Cherohala Skyway for a quick historical diversion.

We turned right onto the beginning of a small rural road and stopped. Across the Skyway from us was a beautiful bridge. This bridge has been a siren to me since I've been coming here. I want to ride on it. But a gate blocks my way.

The bridge spans the river and leads onto a paved road through a green meadow. There are a few houses scattered in the trees and not far beyond the line of trees is Rafter Rd, the very road upon which we began the day's adventure. It's a colorful and quaint bridge, fairly new, to replace an old one that deteriorated (and before that, it was a footbridge). I asked "Why the gate?".

"On the other side is a new 'subdivision'," he replied. I could sense in his voice the same attitude that I have for modern 'subdivision' communities.

Our attention was then drawn to a historical maker and what is left of the Tellico Iron Works. The text on the marker in the photodescribes most of the story. Of course, like most origins of industry in this region and not included on many of the markers, it was built and operated mostly by Cherokee residents until 1924.

The large blocks of granite are all that remain of the foundry. The cute little confederate statue is quaint.

What the sign does not tell anyone is that General Sherman stayed in a huge mansion across the road, quite smug with himself while watching the foundry burn through the night. The mansion dominated this location for many decades until several years ago when it too burned, in a blaze of glory through the night.

Irony. In so many ways......

We rode on to Cat's Cafe, run by two charming ladies, and where the menu has creative sandwiches, supplemented by daily specials, and all very very good. And seating outside on the narrow deck over the river, you can watch the fish, birds and turtles.

Again, we ended another full day of riding just as gloriously as the days before. And slept well.


posted by Macrobe
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