Red Clay State Historic Park encompasses 263-acres and was the site of the last seat of Cherokee national government before the 1838 enforcement of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 by the U.S. military. This resulted in most of the Cherokee people in the area being forced to emigrate west. Eleven general councils were held between 1832 and 1837. The park is also listed as an interpretive site along the National Park Service’s Trail of Tears Historic Trail.
The park is home to a natural landmark, Blue Hole Spring, which arises from beneath a limestone ledge to form a deep pool that flows into Mill Creek, a tributary of the Conasauga and Coosa River system. The spring was used by the Cherokee for their water supply during council meetings.
The park contains a visitor center (James F. Corn Interpretive Center), a theater, library, amphitheater, picnic shelter, and hiking trails. Replicas of 19th-century Cherokee buildings include a council house, farmhouse, barn, corn crib, and three sleeping huts. The visitor center exhibits interpret day-to-day Cherokee life in the early 1800s, as well as information about the Cherokee removal. Artifacts are displayed, including prehistoric stone implements. The park is fully wheelchair-accessible, including parking areas, restrooms and trails.
Friends of Red Clay State Historic Park was established in 2007 as a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to assist with the preservation and education of Red Clay State Historic Park, to promote the park as a visitor’s destination and to engage in fundraising activities to support the on-going mission of Red Clay and the Friends group.
If you are interested in becoming involved in Friends of Red Clay or want to learn more about our organization, please contact the park office at 423-478-0339 or by email to FriendsRedClay@aol.com. Red Clay State Historic Park is located at 1140 Red Clay Road, Cleveland, TN 37311.