Cumberland Gap National Park - Middlesboro, KY, USA
N 36° 36.174 W 083° 41.728
17S E 258900 N 4054205
Quick Description: Cumberland Gap is one of the most famous gaps in all of the United States. It was a main thoroughfare for settlers heading west in the 1700's. This visitors center is in the Cumberland Gap National Park. It has five different passport cancellations.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 8/10/2008 7:33:33 AM
Waymark Code: WM4DRE
This visitors center is located at the entrance to the park in Middlesboro, KY. The center has cancellation stamps for the park itself as well as the Gap Cave, the Hensley Settlement, the Wilderness Road Trail, and the Pinnacle Overlook, all of which are things to visit inside the park.
For hundreds of years before Europeans came to North America, Native Americans followed game trails across this gap. They called it Athiamiowee or "Path of the Armed Ones".
In 1673, Gabriel Arthur was probably the first European to cross the gap when he was taken by a band of Cherokees throughout the region.
It wasn't until 1750, however, before Europeans started making regular trips across the gap. Dr. Thomas Walker led a famous exploration of the area. He named the Cumberland River after Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. The name stuck to the region and soon the gap was known as the Cumberland Gap.
In 1775, Daniel Boone was hired by the Transylvania Company and he led a group of men to improve the trails across the gap so that wagons could traverse them. It is estimated that some quarter million settlers passed over the gap before 1810.
During the U.S. Civil War, the gap was contested territory and passed back and forth between the Union and the Confederacy. Some of the earthworks still exist on the mountains that tower over the gap.
In the 20th century roads were built over the gap, but in 1996, the Cumberland Gap Tunnel was built underneath it and the roads were removed and the trails restored.
Cumberland Gap is inside the Cumberland Gap National Park and over a million people visit the park each year.
US 25-E S
Middlesboro, KY USA
NPS Web Page for this Station: [Web Link]