Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ghosts of the Copperhill Mines - Polk County Tennessee

In the 1820s, copper was discovered in the remote southeastern corner of Tennessee where it borders Georgia and North Carolina.  The area would become what was known as The Copper Basin.  It was difficult times working deep in the copper mines as well as transporting it out of the mountains to Chattanooga.  Many men died working in this area and as a result, there are lingering spirits in these hills that seem continue to labor on.


It is said that phantom wagon trains make their way along what was the Ole Copper Road or Copperhill Road in Polk County, Tennessee
It is said that phantom wagon trains make their way along what was the Ole Copper Road or Copperhill Road in Polk County, Tennessee

Conditions in the copper mines were rough at best.  As miners toiled deep within the earth, the air would become poison and conditions too hazardous to work in.  The mining companies deployed air pumps to push fresh, breathable air to the workers in the mines.  Extracting the coppor ore from the mine did not go without tragedy. In the late 1890s near Ducktown, Tennessee, a pump pushing fresh air into the Isabella Copper Mine failed, turning the air into a deadly gas.  Many men perished that day.  Over the years, visitors near the mine can hear the muffled cries and screams of men in agony.  In various nearby towns, strange paranormal events have been reported by many.

The Copper Basin region of Polk County Tennessee is thought to be haunted by miners and workers that perished here over the years
The Copper Basin region of Polk County Tennessee is thought to be haunted by miners and workers that perished here over the years - Photo courtesy of http://www.theblueridgehighlander.com/polk_county_tennessee/index.php

Getting the copper out of The Copper Basin and out of the mountains was another matter.  Many men died after their wagons were ambushed following what was known as the Copper Trail, originally called the Ocoee River trail which followed the Ocoee River out of the mountains.  These wagon masters would be robbed and murdered before they ever made it to the Tennessee Valley. Soon railroads along the river replaced the wagon trains.  The Copper Road is now Route 64, known as the Ole Copper Road.  To this day there have been rumors of phantom wagon trains making their way along the road.  The calls and screams of men can be heard in the night as they make their way along the Ole Copper Road.


Copper mine of the The Copper Basin in Tennessee - Photo courtesy of http://www.theblueridgehighlander.com/polk_county_tennessee/index.php
The Ocoee River and valley where the copper ore mined out of The Copper Basin was transported down to the Tennessee Valley
The Ocoee River and valley where the copper ore mined out of The Copper Basin was transported down to the Tennessee Valley - Photo courtesy of http://www.theblueridgehighlander.com/polk_county_tennessee/index.php

Today the copper may be depleated, but the small towns such as Copperhill and Ducktown are bustling villages filled with shops and eaterys.  The nearby Ocoee River is a haven for white water rafters.


Map of The Copper Basin area of Polk County Tennessee thought to be haunted by miners and workers who died there. Route 64 on this map is what used to be The Ole Copper Road.
Map of The Copper Basin area of Polk County Tennessee thought to be haunted by miners and workers who died there. Route 64 on this map is what used to be The Ole Copper Road. Image courtesy - Google Maps

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