Ducktown, TN – “A Special Place in Polk County, Tennessee”

History of Ducktown Tennessee

Ducktown Historic View

Ducktown, TN, a small 400 resident town in Polk County, TN. In its recent history, Ducktown was the center of a major copper-mining district which ended in the 1980s. During its one-hundred fifty (150) year stint as a primary copper mining town in the southeast, it also was known for the amount of iron, sulfur and zincit produced.

Before its mining boom, Ducktown was home to the Native Tribe known as the Cherokee. It is said that the natives who lived in this area primarily lived at the confluence of the world-famous Ocoee River that’s headwaters begin in Ducktown and the nearby Tumbling Creek. Here, the Cherokee settled in a village called Kawana, which means “duck town” in English. According to tradition, Ducktown was named after a Cherokee leader named Chief Duck. Many surrounding towns in his area have Cherokee names and influence such as Hiawassee meaning the enchanted valley and Choestoe which translates to “dancing rabbit.” Ducktown, however, takes the cake as the original homeplace of the Cherokee.

Visit Growing Ducktown TennesseeCherokee were known to Ducktown until as late as the 1830s when they relinquished control of the Copper Basin to the U.S. government. Although the federal government removed many of the Ducktown’s Cherokee inhabitants, there were a few brave men and women who hid out in the surrounding mountains. Later, these same natives would aid in building the Old Copper Road (now part of US-64). In the 1840s and 1850s, Ducktown was even called Hiwassee.

As you travel through Ducktown, you will take note of the mighty Ocoee river and the rich vegetation surrounding it. However, you will also notice that along the train tracks there is a distinct lack of plants and a plethora of eroded land. The train that brought the copper ore out of the Ducktown mines dispenses smelter fumes that destroyed the vegetation along the tracks. Some thirty mining companies were working in the area during its copper-ore-hay-day. Today, you can even take tours into the area of red clay and old mines. The Tennessee Copper Company still stands on Highway 60 as a reminder of the history of the Copper Basin. Here you can take a fascinating journey through a century and a half of copper mining and everyday life at the Ducktown Basin Museum.

World-Class Kayaking, Hiking, Rafting and Fishing

Nowadays Ducktown is known for its beautiful creeks, hiking, biking, fishing, but primarily for the world-class kayaking, SUP boarding, and rafting down the three sections of the Ocoee river, home of the 1996 Olympic Games. Here, you can test your adventurous side with one of the 40+ rafting companies along the Upper Ocoee section (class III-IV) known for being the slalom course during the 1996 Olympics; the MIddle Section which is the “gorge” section known for its natural flow and beautiful class III-IV rapids; and the Lower Section known for the lake where class I-II boaters can fish, and recreationists of all talents can swim, tube, or SUP.

Ducktown is the meca for outdoor pursuits in the Southeast as it is conveniently situated at the center of the Copper Basin, a broad valley located in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the tri-state sharing land with Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. The Ducktown area is part of the Ocoee River watershed, which passes through the Copper Basin a few miles southwest of Ducktown before entering its gorge.

If the outdoors aren’t what you are interested, Ducktown’s small community also boasts semi-annual celebrations, car shows, homecomings as well as a quiet lifestyle with some idyllic southern restaurants boasting picked okra, fried tomatoes, and BBQ. You can also find a unique nightspot known as the “Bus Bar” just downstream serving drinks out of a converted school bus in the summer with bands on the weekends.

With its rich historic traditions and outdoor attractions, the area is attracting residents and growing tourists.  If you love outdoor activities, you should checkout Ducktown’s list of attractions, visit the surrounding area of Copperhill, TN, McCaysville, Georgia or travel a little ways and spend some time in Blue Ridge, Georgia visiting all the shops as all three of these quaint cities have unique sites to see and the weather is excellent for shopping, fishing, hiking and rafting.

Community Matters: Tri Sate – GA, TN & NC

If you need any help, call the friendly staff at Dickey McCay Insurance as they will be glad to provide you any hometown advice as they serve all those communities.  They are all about people helping people.  Yes, they know auto, home, business, health, life and disability insurance, but they also care for people and will be glad to help you find what you need to enjoy your stay in Ducktown, TN, McCaysville, GA, Blue Ridge, GA or Copperhill, TN.  There is so much to see and visit while in the Tri-State area of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, Dickey McCay could help save you some time and provide you some tips on seeing the right sites for the type of tourist you want to be for the week or weekend.  Enjoy our area as Ducktown, Tennessee has some excellent places to visit and is growing as a location of destination.  We look forward to talking to you as Community Matters.