Best known for its pivotal role in opening up the western frontier and its association with explorers and pioneers, the legendary Cumberland Gap has long been celebrated in music and literature. To better preserve that history, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was authorized in 1940 and now covers more than 24,000 acres in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Daniel Boone is remembered here, as well the Native Americans who used the path through the mountains for trade and warfare, the Civil War soldiers who took turns guarding this strategic portal, the geologists and industrialists who saw the potential for development, the businessmen who built one of the nation’s first roads for automobile travel, and the displaced residents who gave up their homes for the park. The dream of a few dedicated individuals to one day restore the historic Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap came true in 2002 after decades of planning, and visitors can once again walk in the footsteps of the pioneers. Photographs spanning more than a century bring to life the fascinating stories and history of this pass.
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