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Crossville, Tennessee: a small town with not much going on (but that might not be a bad thing)

From Nashville, we had planned to head south to Chattanooga then over into Georgia for my nephew's wedding, but the nice thing about not having a set schedule is that it affords you the luxury of taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

And such an opportunity arose for us. As we were traveling across the Volunteer State (thusly named because of the valor shown by the volunteers from Tennessee in the Battle of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson), we heard there was an upcoming Grand Design rally in Crossville, TN. Having no idea where this was or whether or not we could still get tickets, out came the map. Fortunately, the town was not too far out of our way and after numerous phones calls, we were able to get the last available site. So off to Crossville we headed.

The rally was being held at Deer Run RV Resort nestled in the Cumberland Plateau region of eastern Tennessee. Lots of trees, hills and small towns. The camp was well maintained and built around a beautiful lake. We met the owners and found them exceedingly friendly and quickly responded to any maintenance issues that arose.

If you're an RV owner and have never been to a manufacturer's rally, I would highly recommend it. Not only do you learn a lot about the care and maintenance of your rig, you also have the opportunity to have (some long awaited) upgrades done by qualified mechanics.

At this rally, we had our drum brakes replaced with new, state-of-the-art disc brakes (about $2,000) and we replaced the plain frosted glass window in our front door with this stained-glass beauty ($150):

inside view:

Another great thing is all the wonderful people you meet. It is there that we met Bill and Joy.

They are fellow Grand Design owners from Chattanooga. We had a great time getting to know this wonderful couple and they generously (foolishly, perhaps??) offered for us to look them up if we ever get to Chattanooga (spoiler alert: we did!).

We really had a lot of fun at the rally and have kept in touch with many of the people we met.

The Town of Crossville:

Below are some pictures I took of the town:

The County Court House


an odd shaped building in the downtown district

Crossville is a small, quiet town that developed in the early 1800's at the intersection of two major stage coach roads: one leading from Nashville to Knoxville and the other a cattle-driver's road leading from central Tennessee into Kentucky.

The most interesting historical aspect of this town was the role it played during World War II.

During the four year conflict, Tennessee was home to eleven different POW camps holding Japanese, Italian and German prisoners (there were a total of 156 POW camps through out the US - most were built in the south where the climate was temperate). One of the largest camps in the state was just outside of this town built on the site of an abandoned 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps work camp.

It was nicknamed "Jap Camp" by the locals, but it actually contained only Italian and German prisoners. It held over 1,500 German (Rommel's African Corp) and Italian prisoners.

There is a museum in the town with a scale model of the POW camp:

Here's a model of the camp:

Because of the severe manpower shortage caused by the war, the POW's were hired out to work on local farms and other projects around the city. Since life was pretty good for the prisoners (compared to life in a war zone), they was no need for strict security. They pretty much could come and go as they pleased and maintained a good rapport with the community. There were only one known escapee and he was caught later. After the camp closed in 1945, an escape tunnel was discovered but it didn't stretch as far as the exterior gate. If you'd like to read more about the POW camp click here.

There is nothing left of the old camp except the hospital smoke stack (seen in the lower left corner of the above model). It has since been turned into a 4-H camp.

In conclusion, if it's a quieter more sedate life you seek, in a pastoral setting, then Crossville might be place for you!

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