Estill Springs, Tennessee

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Estill Springs is a town in Franklin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,152 at the 2000 census. It is the fourth largest in the county, and is usually referred to as simply "Estill" by its inhabitants (Oscar Myer Jones) .

Estill Springs is part of the Tullahoma, Tennessee, Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History and development

Founding

Mineral springs in the area had long been known to the Cherokee tribe of the region. Before they settled here, varying cultures of indigenous peoples had lived in the area for thousands of years.

The European-American town dates from about 1840, when the Frank Estill family, which owned considerable property in the area, donated a right-of-way for railroad construction. The combination of mineral waters, which were much in vogue as a health remedy at the time, and convenient rail access caused the settlement to develop as a small-scale spa town. It took its name from the springs.

Civil War era

During the Civil War, however, it was generally known as Allisonia, for another family which had settled in the area. It was the site of a Confederate training camp, Camp Harris, named for Isham G. Harris, the Confederate governor of Tennessee, who was a native of the county. Southern forces retreated through the town during the 1863 Tullahoma campaign, named for the nearby community which served as Confederate headquarters.

Twentieth century to present

The fad for bathing in and drinking spring waters eventually passed. Local lore has it that the long-awaited construction of United States Highway 41A through the town in 1940 caused the springs to dry up. Whatever the cause, the spa era passed by mid-century, and the hotels were razed. The new highway connected the town to sources of employment in neighboring communities, and gave it a strategic position on the main artery between Nashville and Chattanooga. The development of local lakes by the Tennessee Valley Authority generated recreational business as well.

The Yellowhammer's Nest, the turn of the century home of noted Tennessee author Will Allen Dromgoole, was destroyed by fire in 1972.

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