McNabb Mines

McNabb Mines: Company Store McNabb Mines: Hotel
Company Store Hotel
McNabb Mines: Two Story Structure McNabb Mines: Coke Ovens
Two Story Structure Coke Ovens
McNabb Mines: Rectangular Stone Building McNabb Mines: Incline
Rectangular Stone Building Incline

Last week I finally bought a new GPS receiver in anticipation of some exploring I planned to do Saturday. I was going to be in Kimball, Tennessee having lunch with some of my cousins, and so I decided to add some nearby waypoints from the National Register of Historical Places. While looking through these places I came across one called McNabb Mines. The Register is a bit sparse as far as details go, but I was intrigued. Google came to the rescue with a link to this article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The McNabb Mines was apparently a small mining town built in the early 1880s and abandoned around 1910. This place was supposedly just sitting right there next to a lonely stretch of road along the banks of the Tennessee River and only maybe 20 minutes or so from where I was supposed to eat lunch.

Lunch was nice. Three of my cousins showed up. We ate, and talked, and enjoyed ourselves, then went our separate ways. My GPS guided me along the Tennessee River towards the location that I guessed the most likely location of the mining town. The Times article described its location quite well, but they weren’t handing out latitude and longitude, so my coordinates were a guess. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to find it, but I needn’t have worried. As I rounded a curve at the top of a hill, there right next to the road were the remnants of the old hotel. I drove a bit further looking for someplace to pull off the road and passed the ruins of the old company store. I found a place to pull off the road just a little further down the road.

I explored the old hotel and company store, but it wasn’t clear from the article just how much of the original structures were intact. The Historic Register application I found said that there were 76 documented features, but again it wasn’t clear to me how many would turn out to be nothing more than a crumbled ring of stones. Although I was satisfied having explored the hotel and store I walked up the hill towards the general direction of the mines. I found a bit of crumbled foundation and while it wasn’t all that spectacular, I came all this way, may as well take a picture. I climbed a little higher up the hill so I could get a better picture when I noticed some very large walls amongst the trees a bit further up. These walls were much taller than those of the hotel and company store below. So further up the hill I went. I really need to get in better shape.

The Two Story Structure looked as if it were being attacked by trees. There were several lying across it as opposed to growing inside it like the buildings below. This one still had chimneys on two walls and also a tiny bit of plaster on one of the walls.

I wanted to walk further up, but I didn’t have a whole lot of time so I decided to make my way back down. On the way down I found another foundation and another. I didn’t take any pictures of these. A bit further down the road in the opposite direction were the coke ovens and the incline leading to the old mines. The remnants of another stone building were visible from the base of the incline and so I explored it a bit, but the day was getting late and I needed to start heading home.

When I got home and started getting some pictures ready to post on flickr, I reread the PDF and realized I missed at least two other buildings that would have been a lot of fun to explore. There is a church / school building that apparently includes an archway that was still intact as of 2008. Also probably 200 feet away from the “Two Story Structure” was what the archaeologists supposed was the company owners house. Much of it is also supposed to be intact, including 3 fireplaces. And of course, further up the mountain are the mines themselves.

It was a really serene place. I think in the hour or two I was there, three maybe four cars went by. I’ll have to go back sometime and see what else I can find.