Motorists traveling down Browns Ferry Road in Lookout Valley will soon discover a new sign identifying the Browns Ferry Tavern as a site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
The congressionally designated trail commemorates the tragic history of the 1838 removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral homelands to territory in the West.
The Tavern sign will be unveiled Sept. 25 at a gathering of Trail of Tears supporters at Browns Ferry Tavern with owner Joan Franks, the National Park Service (NPS), and the Trail of Tears Association, the principle non profit partner to the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
An official presentation recognizing the Tavern site as a certified site on the trail will also be made by the NPS. Proceedings will begin at 2:00 at 703 Browns Ferry Road.
The sign to be unveiled is a prototype intended to become a more common sight for visitors as part of a NPS and trail partners signing initiative to increase the visibility of the trail through the nine states the trail passes. Chattanooga, one of the most significant beginning points on the trail, and the Browns Ferry Tavern, are seen by the NPS and trail supporters as an ideal “starting point” for unveiling one of the first in this new signing effort.
The Browns Ferry Tavern was originally part of a 640-acre reservation and business interest owned by prominent Cherokee leader John Brown. Lying south of the Tennessee River, Brown’s land formed the boundary of the Cherokee Nation at the time of the forced removal in 1838. It included the Tavern; a large agricultural development; and the ferry crossing, which connected portions of a route originally known as The Great Trading path, later as the Public Road and the Federal Road, and today as the Browns Ferry Road. The road was the original route of removal for several Cherokee detachments along the Trail of Tears.