Monday, December 12, 2011

Del Rio, Tennessee

If you come off Max Patch Mountain on the Tennessee side, the first community at the base of the mountain is Del Rio, Tennessee. Once a thriving lumber town, much of Del Rio now lies in ruin. The post office and businesses have moved out to highway US-25/70 leaving the old business district boarded up. It's more interesting to a photographer than the new business district, but that doesn't bring in any income to the remaining residents.

Del Rio has long had a reputation for moonshining and cockfighting. The former is shared by much of Appalachia, but the latter is not. A raid by federal agents on a cockfighting operation in 2005 led to the arrest of 143 and the confiscation of more than $40,000 in cash. Authorities described the operation as the "largest and oldest illegal cockfighting pit" in the United States.

By coincidence, Del Rio is located in Cocke County, named for William Cocke, one of Tennessee's first two U.S. Senators. Cocke has the distinction of having served in the legislatures of four different states: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

6 comments:

  1. Don't know much about this little place; but I do have a friend that produces some excellent honey there!

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  2. Whole areas in ruins is something we don't see too much of here. They may stay derelict for a while but then usually get bulldozed to make way for something else. I guess you have a bit more space than we have!

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  3. Well know your friend's product well, Christine. We buy regularly at a fruit & vegetable stand in Jamestown. Jim

    I guess that has its good points and its bad, Jenny. Once it gets bulldozed there's no hope of restoration, although in all honesty there's usually only the hope otherwise. Jim

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  4. We've been told by NC law enforcement that Del Rio is where a lot of stolen chainsaws etc. end up. The place has quite a reputation.

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  5. Jim, Thanks for reminding me of Del Rio. I have met the Strange family who keep bees there. I have also spent quite a few wonderful hours in the company of my good friend, Jimmy Morrow. The drive from Del Rio to Marshall, NC, is one of my favorite trips in all of Appalachia. I need to write about Jimmy and Del Rio sometime soon. I attended the July 4 event there once.

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  6. I will also say that Cocke County, or more appropriately a few Cocke County public officials, have done an awful lot to impair 1st Amendment Rights in their battles against religion.

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