Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hensley Settlement

Split-rail fences at Hensley Settlement
Original buildings of the Settlement remain intact. One loses any sense of being on a mountain top in the sweeping meadows of the site.

Cumberland Gap-Hensley Settlement

Exploring the now vacant Hensley Settlement is like taking a step back in time. Located on the large flat top of Brush Mountain, one can experience the quiet solitude and isolation of the Hensley families who made their homes there in the early to mid-20th Century. One can still walk down fence-lined lanes, step into the blacksmith's shop, look into the springhouse and sit in the one-room schoolhouse. A family cemetery occupies a corner of the large meadow; its many children’s graves a testament, perhaps, to the practice of intermarriage on the isolated mountaintop. The Hensley Settlement was established in 1904 by Sherman Hensley and was occupied until 1951. A Hensley family member still lives on the mountaintop as a guest of the National Park Service; his job is to provide security and a human presence to discourage vandalism at the site. The Park Service continued to manage a working farm at the Settlement until recent years; now it is only accessible on Park tours.

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