Exploring archive photos of Burgess Falls

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — Tennessee State Parks report an unprecedented number of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Burgess Falls continues to be one of the most popular places on the list.

Some ways to take in the beauty of the waterfall include a moderately accessible overlook to see the falls from afar; a heart pumping hike to the top of the falls; or a paddle by kayak to the bottom of the falls; or a boat ride – if water levels are high enough.

View of Burgess Falls from the water 3.18.1950.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Aerial view of Burgess Falls 2.16.1950.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Burgess Falls 5.1.1967.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Burgess Falls 2.19.1950.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Burgess Falls located on The Falling Water River 2.19.1950.
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Burgess Falls before the dam was built 1931.
Tennessee State Library and Archives

“It’s historical as well as being a natural wonder,” Tennessee State Parks Naturalist Randy Hedgepath told News 2.


Tennessee 225: Celebrate Tennessee’s 225 years of history with these special reports

Burgess Falls was once owned by the Burgess family. From 1928-1944 The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville. It became a designated natural area for the state in 1973.

“Remnants of the generating station are below the falls on the left bank of the stream,” Hedgepath pointed out. “Upstream of the falls, there’s a flume that dropped through turbine to produce electricity.”

Burgess Falls factoids

Located on the Falling Water River
Four waterfalls gush from over 250 feet elevation
1.5-mile round-trip moderately strenuous hike
Service road loop accessible to hikers
Nearby Native Butterfly Garden

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