Fun way to meet the TN state education
curriculum requirement for Tennessee History

Watch short video teaser of
Coal Creek History on YouTube at:

Do you know Coal Creek’s connection to Jesse James?

Do you know four were killed in the Gunfight at the Southern Railway Depot in Coal Creek, whereas only three died in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral?  Do you know which army fired cannons into the town of Coal Creek from Militia Hill during the Coal Creek War

Learn the answers to these questions and more by taking a class field trip to the Coal Creek Miners Museum, followed by a guided tour of sites where that history happened in an explosion of learning.

Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc.
3502 Overlook Circle
Knoxville, TN 37909

865-584-0344 Ext. 102


Tennessee students and teachers


Invitation to take a class field trip to study the Coal Creek labor saga, which is now part of the state’s education curriculum


By reservation only


Begin the field trip at the Coal Creek Miners Museum, 211 South Main Street, Rocky Top, TN 37769.  After learning about the Coal Creek labor saga at the museum, take a guided tour to the sites where the history happened.


The state education curriculum says students must study Tennessee history, so here’s an opportunity to learn about riveting history in Coal Creek!  See where convicts were first brought to Coal Creek in 1877 to replace striking Welsh miners.  More Coal Creek miners lost their jobs in 1891 when convicts were brought to mines in Briceville.  Coal Creek miners met with Gov. Buck Buchanan about losing their jobs, but to no avail, so they captured guards and convicts, put them on trains to Knoxville, and burned convict stockades. In retaliation, Tennessee National Guard troops fired on Coal Creek, signaling the start of the Coal Creek War. 

Life was good in Coal Creek after the Coal Creek War, but the mines grew still on 19 May 1902, when the Fraterville Mine exploded, killing over 200 miners.  Ten lived long enough to write farewell letters before suffocating.  Learn how one Fraterville miner who retired three months before the explosion helped preserve Welsh literature at a time when it was illegal to even speak the Welsh language in Great Britain.  

Have you heard the phrase “A canary in a coal mine?”  See where that practice started during the rescue of miners after the Cross Mountain Mine exploded on 9 December 1911.  Although 84 miners died in that disaster, five were rescued by engineers and apparatus crews of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in the Nation’s first successful mine rescue operation.

Students re-enacting a battle of the
Coal Creek War at
Fort Anderson on Militia Hill


It’s free, just contact Carol Moore at 865-584-0344 Ext. 102, or on her cell phone at 865-660-2620, or to make reservations for your class field trip.

Historical photograph of the Tennessee National Guard at
Fort Anderson on Militia Hill in 1892 during the Coal Creek War

Learn how Coal Creek miners
fueled the industrial revolution,
ended the convict lease system
in the South, and made working
practices safer for miners today.

You might even get to
fire the cannon on Militia Hill
or meet the
Ghost of Dick Drummond
at Drummond Bridge
on your guided field trip.



Students reading the farewell letter of Fraterville miner Powell
Harmon over his headstone in Longfield Cemetery, which
tells his boys to never work in the coal mines.  His son
Condy Harmon, who died in the 1911 Cross Mountain
Mine explosion, is buried beside his father.

Did you know that four of the sites on the tour (i.e., Militia Hill,
Briceville Church and Cemetery, Cross Mountain Miners Circle, and Fraterville Miners Circle)
are listed on the National Register of Historic Places?!


[Master Plan] [Map] [Photo Gallery]
[Bank Stabilization Projects]
[Deadwood Removal Days] [Discovery Day 2000] [Scrape, Paint & Clean Day 2000
[Historic Fraterville Mine Disaster Field Trip 2001] [Fraterville Mine Disaster 100th Anniversary]
[Coal Creek War and Mining Disasters] [Mine Reclamation Lessons]
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[Briceville School History Field Trips] [Ghost Stories]
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