Documenting Community Traditions: Railroad History and Cultural Heritage Tourism in Northeast Tennessee
East Tennessee State University's ATP project will continue to document the history of the Clinchfield Railroad in Unicoi County and to develop this aspect of cultural heritage tourism for the area. Leaders from the Unicoi County government, the local economic development board, as well as the local historical association and heritage museum, have identified the proposed railroad history project as a high priority and have requested the assistance of the ETSU 2015 ATP class.
The project will emphasize the cultural history of the railroad as a significant force in local communities and in the lives of residents. The project has two main goals: (1) To conduct additional ethnographic field research to survey existing documentation and conduct interviews of residents who have some connection to the railroad in the region; and (2) To work with community leaders to continue developing plans and projects for utilizing railroad history to promote cultural heritage tourism. The focus of the fieldwork will be on retired railroad workers and other elderly residents who have memories of the railroad and its role in the community. At the request of the community partners, a particular emphasis for 2015-2016 will be on the historical role of the railroad in developing a regional economy. This focus will not only help to document important history but also can help to promote economic development in the region today.
Ron Roach, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Appalachian Studies
East Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 70435
Johnson City, TN 37614
Telephone: (423) 439-7494