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This is a contributing entry for Still: Cumberland Gap and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
This sculpture represents water and geology, with metal mimicking moving water and mountain ridges. The creek beside you, Gap Creek, originates from within the mountain, runs through town, and eventually empties into the Powell River. It is a continuing chapter in the gap’s long story of geological history. Read more about this theme below, look through related images, and listen to the audio to hear local stories.

"Water Falls, Below King Solomon's Cave"

Slope, Bedrock, Snow, Freezing

"Muddy Flood Waters of Gap Creek"

Water, Plant, Water resources, Plant community

"Cudjo's Cave"

World, Organism, Font, Poster

"Cudjo's Cave"

Mountain, Sky, Slope, Thoroughfare

Interior of The Gap Cave

Stalagmite, Cave, Speleothem, Liquid

Earth and water have collaborated for many, many years to form the landscape we experience here now. During early mountain-building events, fault movement weakened the bedrock, which then weathered away to carve out the physical gap in the Cumberland Mountains — a geological phenomena that has carved out the Cumberland Gap’s place in history. This geological-good-fortune drew folks to the gap for passage and countless travelers (human and non-human) have drank from the fresh waters that emerge from Gap Cave. Having gone by “King Solomon’s Cave,” “Soldiers Cave,” and simply yet most famously, “Cudjo’s Cave,” Gap Cave is composed of at least thirty miles and three levels of passages, corridors, and caverns. Its interior, adorned with calcite crystals, includes one of the world’s largest known stalagmites, a 65 feet high giant called “the Pillar of Hercules” that is thought to be eighty-five million years old. Subterranean streams found in the first two levels of Gap Cave have provided the town of Cumberland Gap with water for generations.

Page, Bonnie M.. The Cumberland Region (In Picture - Then and Now). Jacksboro, TN. Action Printing, 1997.

Claiborne County Historical Society. The People’s History of Claiborne County Tennessee 1801-1988. Waynesville, NC. Walsworth Publishing Co., 2003.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

The Bell County Historical Society

Photography by Caroline Hatfield

Bell County Historical Society

Bell County Historical Society

National Park Service