David Crockett State Park was the first state park funded entirely by the citizens of the state of Tennessee. It’s thought that Hernando De Soto also spent time here on the ridgeline between the “two creeks” (Crowson and Shoal). The Trail of Tears’ Bells Route crossed through the park and the old roadbeds are still evident.
The park’s namesake, David Crockett, was one of Tennessee’s most famous native sons, a pioneer, soldier, politician, and industrialist. Arriving in this area In 1817, Crockett established a three-tiered industry on the banks of Shoal Creek, consisting of a gristmill, powder mill, and distillery. His wife, Elizabeth, ran the mill, while David served as justice of the peace, colonel of the militia, and state representative while in Lawrence County. When his enterprises were destroyed by flood in 1821, the “Gentleman from the Cane” had to sell everything he owned here to pay his debts. He moved to West Tennessee, where he was elected to Congress, then died at the Alamo in 1836 in the fight for Texas independence from Mexico. More than a folk hero, Crockett was the source of a fan mania after Walt Disney released “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” in 1955. Every child in the U.S. needed a coonskin cap and rifle.
The Middle Fork of Shoal Creek borders and dissects the park through its length. Beautiful woodlands with freshwater springs and streams flow into the creek. Crockett Falls is a natural waterfall near the back of the park, most likely the site of Crockett’s mill establishment. On the southeastern edge of the park is Pine Bluff and bare rock face that plummets into the convergence of the Middle and Eastern Forks of Shoal Creek. Pine Bluff was once the site of a CCC camp. The western border of the park follows along a ridgeline and shows a diversity of habitats.
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