Sherwood, Tennessee
Miners at the Gager Lime Quarry Gager Lime Company, Sherwood, Tenn., 1892-1949
Worker at Gager Lime

Worker at Gager Lime

About Sherwood
ŠThis website and contents, copyright, 2011, by Crow Creek Heritage Preservation Society.

The First People^Top of page

It's possible that the first hunters came through the Crow Creek Valley more than 9,000 years ago. Russell Cave National Monument is just a few miles across the plateau to the east, and charcoal from ancient campfires at that location have been carbon dated to around 6,500 B.C. The Tennessee State Legislature created Franklin County in 1807. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee, 1887, reports that George Grey settled on Crow Creek in 1809.


Russell Cave in Alabama
Mannequins in Russell Cave depict a lifestyle that may have been familiar to the first people of the Crow Creek Valley.

Cumberland Mountain Tunnel^Top of page

The history of Sherwood, like that of many cities and towns, has been shaped by geography. The railroad from Nashville to Chattanooga might have taken a different route had it not been for a low place in the Cumberland Plateau -- a place just perfect for the historic Cumberland Mountain Tunnel about seven miles north of town. The tunnel was completed in 1852 and was strategically important to both sides during the Civil War. The Confederates abaondoned the tunnel as they retreated from Tullahoma toward Chattanooga in July 1863.

View of tunnel low point from Hwy. 56The low point in the distance was an ideal location for the railroad tunnel. Cowan end of the Cumberland Mt. Tunnel
Cowan side of the tunnel, where the Sewanee Mountain Goat Line crossed over the NC&StL

Before Sherwood^Top of page

There was no Sherwood before 1878, and Civil War maps of the Crow Creek Valley show the town of Tantallon, south of the tunnel, and Anderson, just north of the Alabama state line. The settlement at Catchings Station, named for station master Meredith Catchings/Kitchens Jr. also predated the town.

Civil War map showing the tunnel and Tantallon
Tantallon, Cowan, and the tunnel are shown on this Civil War era map.

Sherwood Springs^Top of page

One of the most alluring features of the region is the presence of mineral springs. These sites were especially popular in the 1800s. Promoters touted the benefits of "taking the waters," and wealthy patrons endured long stagecoach rides to reach destinations such as Beersheba Springs in neighboring Grundy County. In 1878 C. D. Sherwood, impressed by the natural beauty of the valley, formed the Sherwood Land and Emigration Company and began to build his Sherwood Colony. Unfortunately Sherwood was not able to realize his dream and in 1893 he sold most of his property in the valley to Byron Gager.


C. D. Sherwood
Charles D. Sherwood, former lieutenant governor of Minnesota, believed the springs in the Crow Creek Valley would be a good draw for a resort community.

NY Times notice of C.D. Sherwood's death
NY Times, July 3, 1895 -- distraught over ill health and financial problems, Sherwood took his own life.

Former home of C.D.Sherwood
Former house of C.D. Sherwood, a few yards south of Sherwood Springs. 1910

Gathering at the Sherwood Springs
A gathering at the Sherwood Springs
Spring House 2003
Spring house built around 1922. Photograph taken in 2003.

Gager Lime Company^Top of page

In 1892, geography once again played a major role in Sherwood's destiny. Just three days before Christmas of that year, the state issued a charter of incorporation to Gager Lime and Manufacturing Company. Byron Gager, the company's founder, had been successful in the lime business near Sandusky, Ohio. Gager died in 1926, but his company continued operating until 1949.

Gager & Gamble logo, Sandusky, Ohio
Gager's Sandusky operation was bought out in 1891.
Byron Gager
Gager chose Sherwood as the site of his new company because of the exceptionally pure limestone deposits there.

Gager notepad

 

<Gager logo from the company notepad.

>
Blasting at the Gager quarry. The company began drilling mine shafts into the mountainside in the 1920s.

Blasting at the Gager Quarry

Gager Lime around 1900
around 1900

The architecture of the company's buildings changed from functional to ornate during its first three decades. In 2002 the Tennessee Preservation Trust included the Gager ruins on the list of the ten most endangered sites in the state.

Gager Lime Company, Sherwood, Tenn., 1892-1949
early 1920s

 

Sherwood Today ^Top of page

Sherwood 2003
2003

 

The town has lost more than two-thirds of its population since the early 1900s, but each September people return for the annual homecoming.

Sherwood 1940s
1940s

Sherwood Mining Co., 2011
2011

The Sherwood Mining Company was established in 2005. Although it's not yet as big an operation as Gager, the opening was the best economic news for the people in the valley in more than 60 years.

Gager Lime
1930s