Cummins Falls, named one of the ten best swimming holes in America by Travel and Leisure magazine, is Tennessee’s 54th state park, a fitting addition to the celebration of the park system’s 75th anniversary. Situated among rolling hills along the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River in the Cordell Hull Watershed, the falls itself is 75 feet high, the eighth largest waterfall in volume in Tennessee.
In this place where buffalo once roamed, the forest of oak, beech, buckeye, sycamore and hemlocks that borders the river still protects a variety of wildlife, including eagles, quail, turkey, turtles, foxes, minks and myriad insects. Native Americans used the area as a hunting ground for buffalo and other animals. In the 1790s, Revolutionary War veteran Sgt. Blackburn, for whom the river is named, received the land as his pension. In 1825, John Cummins acquired the land and set about building the first of two water driven mills. Because of a growing clientele, a second and larger mill was built in 1845 about a half mile or so before the falls. The land remained in the Cummins family for 180 years, even though the great flood of 1928 washed away the mills. In recent years, a combined public-private effort made it possible to purchase the land for the park. It is located in nine miles north of Cookeville in Jackson County close to the Putnam County line off Cummins Mill Rd. on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River.
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