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It sucks when you find out something that would have been awesome to know years ago.
Like driving a stick shift isn’t so hard.
Being an adult isn’t nearly as cool as we thought as kids!
Riding a bike at 40 sucks, nothing like when you’re 10.
But after 35 years, I just found out two fascinating facts I never about Tennessee.
Two interesting facts about Tennessee I never knew:
- Waterfalls! There are waterfall galore in this state!
- Combs graves. I know it sounds creepy but its truly fascinating
I grew up in dry dusty west Tennessee. I knew the smoky mountains were in the same state but they were so far away (360 miles) it didn’t seem true. But waterfalls are everywhere here! There are 300-800 waterfalls across the state. (3 different sources gave me 3 different numbers) But the majority of them lie in Middle and East TN.
No wonder I had no idea of the abundance of them.
West Tennessee has a measly 16 with 6 of those on private property.
I’ve lived in Nashville for 13 years but never truly grasped the amount of waterfalls til just a couple of years ago. Even though I’d been to Fall Creek Falls State Park. Heard of Cummins and Burgess Falls State Parks. My brain never fully registered the abundance of the waterfalls. I now know that geology is what makes middle and east Tennessee so different from west Tennessee.
I have a book titled Waterfalls of Tennessee and it catalogs a lot of them found within the state. Many are found on private land but there a A LOT that can be found in State and National park areas.
Growing up in west Tennessee, I never cared much about being outside (after I grew out of my riding my bike phase). So around 11? But now I find waterfalls a wonderful enticement to get outside. They’re great motivators! At the end of a hot, humid hike you get to experience a cool refreshing waterfall.
I admit waterfalls have become quite an obsession for me. I enjoy hiking but knowing there’s a great vision to behold and beauty to behold makes it easier to want to get started in the first place.
This I never even heard of these til last year. I think they were mentioned in a PBS show but I don’t recall actually seeing a picture of them. I forgot all about them til last month when we went on vacation in Sparta Tn 100 miles from home. While driving to our AIRBNB we passed an old cemetery. There were new headstones but midway through I saw some unusual tombstones. I remember a mentioned on unique to TN headstones.
I turned to google and found this amazing webpage all about the graves. Combs tombs are triangle shaped tombstones that seem to have originated in middle Tennessee in 1815-1820. Many old cemeteries in Middle Tennessee have lots of them. Comb describes the crest or ridge of a roof. They are commonly referred to as tent graves.
There are some of these tombs found in 9 states but they are believed to have originated in middle Tennessee. Tennessee also has the most of them 3600. These were made from multiple materials, from sheetmetal to shale. But most were made from stone from the Hartselle Bench of the Cumberland Plateau of middle Tennessee. Some just have the triangle shape and no words of the deceased while some have a separate headstone.
The sad part is that while they are starting to deteriorate, many are dismantled by graveyard workers and even by the families.
It appears that as fashion trends come and go, so do tombstones. While these skull and crossbones death heads were popular in the 15th-16th centuries, they went the way of the combs tomb too. In recent years, one lady asked for a comb tomb for herself while 2 others pets were buried in combs.
So these 2 facts: Tn is swimming in waterfalls and the uniqueness of the combs graves are just amazing to me.
Whenever you make it out to Tennessee, make sure to check out some of the many waterfalls. And scare your friends with your creepy knowledge of combs graves.
But I can’t stop wondering what else Tennessee offers that I don’t know about?
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