Historical Sites around Big South Fork

Sergeant York State Historic Park

With a motto of “Legacy in Action,” the Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation (SYPF) is preserving and promoting the legacy of America’s greatest WWI hero, Fentress County native Sgt. Alvin C. York. The SYPF works with York State Park and the York family to preserve the York home, farm and artifacts; publishes a quarterly journal, “Sgt. York Says;” develops and coordinates educational opportunities for youth and adults; strives to increase sustainable heritage tourism; and operates York General Store Visitor Center, offering regional tourism materials and an interpretive center which serves as an event and free tour headquarters as well as a WWI and York book and gift shop and deli.

Founded in 1993, past SYPF accomplishments include achieving issuance of a York postal stamp, construction of the reproduction 1930s-era store/visitor center and publishing out-of-print historic books. The Foundation is currently in the process of restoring historic York Institute, built by York in the 1920s, to serve as a multipurpose educational facility for the Upper Cumberland. Other recent accomplishments have included securing and implementing an Appalachian Regional Commission grant for interpretation and promotion of Sgt. Alvin C. York State Park in Pall Mall and Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park in Byrdstown hosting of an annual Veteran’s Day ceremony that attracts veterans and visitors from across the region; presenting the Sgt. York Cultural Arts and Heritage Celebration with a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission to showcase more than two dozen musical, performing and visual artists; creating a digital archive of York’s papers, photos and other paper ephemera; and enhancing Sgt. York’s presence on the Internet though use of social media, blogs, You-Tube and upgrading www.sgtyork.org to include down-loadable brochures, lesson plans, GPS coordinates for Pall Mall attractions and educational photos, slideshows and documents.

The Foundation hosts an annual Veteran’s Day Celebration honoring all veterans and active duty military personnel. In addition to a patriotic program and recognition of veterans, a Dutch treat lunch is served at York General Store benefitting the York Visitor Center. Free and open to the public, this year’s event is set for Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at Sgt. York State Historic Park.

Through a grant from Humanities Tennessee the SYPF will be bringing the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition “The Way We Worked” to the Upper Cumberland April 28-June 2, 2012, at Progressive Savings Bank in Jamestown, TN.

Visit www.sgtyork.org and
www.yorkgeneralstore.blogspot.com for additional information. To volunteer, join or donate, contact the SYPF Executive Director at sypfdirector@gmail.com or 931-347-2664.

The Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation’s commitment to tourism development in the Upper Cumberland resulted in eight interpretive panels being placed at Pall Mall and another three at the Cordell Hull Birthplace in Byrdstown.

100 Henderson St. • Stearns, KY 42647 • 800.462.5664

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Big South Fork Scenic Railway

Big South Fork Railway

Family Railroad Adventure

The Big South Fork Scenic Railway allows passengers to experience one of the last remaining company towns, with an operational railroad and reconstructed coal camp originally built during the early nineteen hundreds. The Scenic Railway is located in the National Historic
District of Stearns, Kentucky, which is on the northern end of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Your family will enjoy the 16 mile round trip upon the 110 year old, Kentucky & Tennessee Railway, known as the “Route of the Painted Rocks.” This ride is full of spectacular vistas, lush vegetation and free flowing mountain streams as it descends 600 feet into the river gorge. The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and remnants from the communities that once lined the railway now serve as reminders of days gone by.

Regular departures, April through October, upon the K&T Special take 3 hours and include a new section of track through the mining camp of Worley. Worley was the largest mining community along the K&T. The train makes a stop at Blue Heron Coal Mining Camp, a National Park Service outdoor interpretive site. Blue Heron was built by the Stearns Coal & Lumber Company in 1937 and operated until 1962. The coal camp contains “ghost structures” and each structure has visual and oral history exhibits. Visitors to Blue Heron can walk into the face of the mine as well as cross over the river on the tipple bridge. The Railway offers additional experiences by taking a Cab Ride, Caboose Rental, a Rivers & Rails Package, and a new Saturday Pass for those folks that would like more time to hike and explore Blue Heron.

Your ticket aboard the K&T Special also includes admission to the
McCreary County Museum. The Museum is located in the Historic District and is within walking distance of the Depot. The Museum focuses on early pioneer life through the boom times of the Stearns Coal & Lumber Company. You should allow 1½ to 2 hours to spend touring the Museum as well as shopping in one of the many unique craft and gift shops in downtown Stearns. The railway has live bluegrass music in the depot half an hour before each train departs.

In November, take a trip on the new “Run to the Gorge.” Enjoy riding in heated cars into the Gorge of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The November excursion will allow passengers to experience our beautiful area without the foliage. You’ll be amazed by the difference. Round trips are 1 ½ hours in length and depart rain or shine.

The Big South Fork Scenic Railway has special event trains like the Haunted Hollow Express in October and the Santa Express Train in
December. Many new exciting activities are planned for 2012, so be sure to visit our website for more details.

The BSFSR excursion cars range from enclosed to open air and passengers are seated first come, first serve. Passengers should dress accordingly for the weather. The Railway operates rain or shine and all trains depart on Eastern Time. For more information or reservations on Big South Fork Scenic Railway, go to www.bsfsry.com or call 800-462-5664.