Clinch River House is located in Anderson County, between Lake City and Clinton, where you’ll find two of the most quaint and pleasant downtowns in Tennessee. Within a 30-minute drive is historic Oak Ridge, established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, and Norris, home to the nationally known Museum of Appalachia, an open-air museum. Attractions in the area around Clinch River House such as museums, antique shops and restaurants are described below.
Coal Miners Museum
216 North Main Street, Lake City / (865) 426-7914
Historical artifacts feature relics from the 1800s Coal Creek War and the third-worst disaster in U.S. History—the Fraterville mine disaster of 1902. Lake City was known as Coal Creek until the 1930s, when TVA completed the Norris Dam. For more information on the Coal Creek War or mine disaster, visit http://www.coalcreekaml.com/Legacy.htm. Call for hours. Admission is free.
Lake City / (865) 426-6495
If you love wildflowers, then Savage Rock Gardens is something you will want see. The gardens feature wildflowers, some not found in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and huge limestone boulders that take on the shapes of large animals or natural arches. To arrange a tour, please call Becky Dew at (865) 426-6495. She will provide directions for finding Savage Gardens.
Hoskins Drug Store
111 North Main Street / (865) 457-4340
Step back to the 1950s with a visit to Hoskins Drug Store in downtown Clinton, across from the Anderson County Courthouse. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Hoskins still has its 1950s style lunch counter and soda fountain. They also sell a wide range of gift items and medical supplies. Call for hours. http://www.hoskinsdrugstore.com/
119 North Main Street / (865) 463-0440
The historic Ritz Theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located on Main Street across from the Anderson County Courthouse. When it opened in November 1945, many called it “the most modern theater in the South.” It closed in the late 1960s but was restored and reopened to look like the classic theater it was in the 1940s. Contact the Ritz Theatre for show times.
121 N. Main St. / (865) 850-6224
Buy, sell or trade US mint sets, coins, collections and more. Call for hours.
Clinton Cards, Comics and Collectibles
372 Market St. / (865) 457-KARD
Packed in 4600 square feet of space are over 250,000 comics, all types of trading cards and sports memorabilia (sci-fi and other). They’ve been in business since 1983 and are located in the heart of downtown Clinton. Call for hours.
Downtown Antique Stores
Downtown Clinton features several antique and gift stores stuffed within a short city block. It may take only a few minutes to walk from one end of downtown to the other, but it will take you hours to investigate all the shops along the way. Stores include: The Antique Market (463-8699), Corner Antiques (457-5250) and Smoky Mountain Antiques (463-7756).
1200 Charles Sievers Blvd. / (865) 457-1436
If you’re looking for a bargain, visit homegrown Hammer’s near the Clinch River in Clinton. The store sells all kinds of items, from name brands like Abercrombie and Fitch and New Balance tennis shoes; other items include hunting clothes, boots, candy, rugs, knives and oddities. Located right next to Hammer’s is the discount chain store Big Lots and next to that Dollar General. Open Monday through Saturday. Call for hours.
1115 N. Charles G. Sievers Blvd/ (865) 463-6532
For a Southeastern take on Mexican cooking, visit Los Caballeros restaurant for a plate of burritos, enchiladas, tacos and more. Call for hours.
Golden Girls Restaurant
2211 N. Charles Sievers Blvd. / (865) 457-3302
Located near I-75 by Norris, Golden Girls resides in a modern-day log cabin with Southern cooking such as fried chicken, fried apples and daily specials. It also has a great breakfast menu. Open seven days a week; call for hours.
110 Hillvale Road / (865) 463-6368
Located just off the I-75 exit at Clinton, the more upscale restaurant cuisine includes BBQ ribs, salmon, salads, steak and more. Open seven days a week; call for hours.
Lenoir Museum Cultural Complex
125 Village Green Circle / (865) 426-7461
The Lenoir Pioneer Museum, 18th Century Gristmill and Threshing Barn complex is part of the Norris Dam State Park located one mile below the dam on Highway 441. The museum contains a remarkable display of antiques and pioneer artifacts, including bells of all descriptions, a large collection of kerosene lamps, blacksmith anvils, rooms of antique furniture and accessories, a Civil War display, a general store display, and more. The Gristmill, built in 1798, grinds corn and sells the meal in the gift shop. Call for hours; admission is free.
Museum of Appalachia
Highway 61, Norris / (865) 494-7680
Experience the pre-WWII heritage of the area at this 65-acre Appalachian history complex. John Rice Irwin’s open-air museum is called “the most authentic and complete replica of pioneer Appalachian life in the world.” The museum, which has been featured in several national publications, contains over 250,000 pioneer relics and 30 log structures, including a chapel, a schoolhouse, cabins and barns. For more information, visit http://www.museumofappalachia.com/. Call for hours.
Coal Creek Motor Discovery Trail
Relive the history and explore the scenic mountains and streams of the Coal Creek watershed by traveling the Motor Discovery Trail. The trail is free, provided by efforts of the Boy Scouts of America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Trout Unlimited, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, local residents, and students. More details regarding the coal-mining history of this area and specifics about the sites can be found at the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation Web site www.coalcreekaml.com/history.htm.
Oliver Springs Railroad Depot
610 Walker Avenue / (865) 435-2509
This restored 1897 depot houses historical artifacts and photos of Oliver Springs. Displays include the restored Southern Caboose, Old Hotel Ticket Booth and horse-drawn Fire Wagon located behind the Depot. Call for hours; admission is free.
American Museum of Science & Energy
300 South Tulane Avenue / (865) 576-3200
Discover how 75,000 people kept a secret in Oak Ridge during World War II. From a “Hair-Raising” experience to “Atom Smasher” live demonstrations, there are many audiovisuals, machines, and devices to keep you entertained and educated. For information, visit www.amse.org. Call for hours.
Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge
461 West Outer Drive / (865) 482-1074
Play in a child-size dollhouse, experience the wonders of a rain forest or learn the region’s heritage through a child’s eyes. This hands-on cultural/educational center is fun for people of all ages. For more information, please visit www.childrensmuseumofoakridge.org. Call for hours.
East Tennessee Technology Park Overlook
Hwy. 58 / (865) 574-9683
View the historic former Manhattan Project facility once known as K-25 in this overview exhibit that features pictures, historic displays and video. Call for hours; admission is free.
Wheat Community African Burial Ground
Hwy. 58, adjacent to East Tennessee Technology Park Overlook
Believed to be part of the Gallaher-Stone Plantation, this 1850s slave cemetery has more than 90 unmarked graves. Admission is free.
Historic Graphite Reactor
Bethel Valley Road, Oak Ridge /(865) 574-4160
Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the world’s oldest nuclear reactor was built during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. Go to www.ornl.gov for more information. Call for hours; admission is free.
International Friendship Bell
The first monument established between a U.S. Manhattan Project city and Japan, the bell serves as an expression of hope for everlasting peace. Admission is free.
Historic Jackson Square / Greenwich Village
East Tennessee Ave. / (865) 482-8450
The original site of Oak Ridge built during the Manhattan Project. Now features unique shopping, dining and historic displays.
New Bethel Church Interpretive Center
Bethel Valley Road / (865) 574-4160
This restored 1924 church has been converted into a museum featuring pictures, mementos and artifacts of rural community life before World War II. For more information, go to www.ornl.gov. Call for hours; admission is free.
Oak Ridge Art Center
201 Badger Avenue / (865) 482-1441
Permanent collection of contemporary international artists, plus rotating exhibits of local and regional artists. Call for hours; admission is free.
Secret City Scenic Excursion Train
Hwy. 58, East Tennessee Technology Park / (865) 241-2140
Ride the Atomic Train on a 12-mile tour through the once secret K-25 Manhattan Project site and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Blair community. For more information, visit www.techscribes.com/sarm/sarm.htm. Call for hours; admission information.
Sources: Anderson County, Clinton, Lake City and Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Web sites.