“Some new and exciting news is coming from the National Park Service.”
That was the news that Melissa Woody shared with members of MainStreet Cleveland Monday as she gave an update on events beginning to unfold in Bradley County and Charleston.
Woody, vice president of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, said NPS representatives from Santa Fe, N.M., have made several trips to the Charleston area and will be making an announcement soon.
“We partner with neighboring counties to spread the word about what our region has to offer,” Woody said.
The Hiwassee River Heritage Center opened earlier this year in Charleston which is rich in Cherokee heritage and Civil War history, she pointed out.
It was the site of the last Cherokee agency prior to the Trail of Tears Removal which led the Cherokee and other Native Americans along a forced 1,000-mile journey to Oklahoma.
Woody also said the continuing five-year, 150th anniversary of the Civil War commemoration is still in the works for the Charleston and Cleveland communities.
Portions of history will be commemorated later this year with events based on area Civil War happenings.
In September 1863, the Union Army first arrived in Bradley County and attacks by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest were held in the Cleveland and Charleston areas. Forrest reached Cleveland, then advanced on Charleston on Sept. 26, 1863. The Union retreated to the northern banks of the Hiwassee River, which separates Charleston (Bradley) and McMinn County.
In December, plans are being made relative to Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s visit and stay at the Henagar House in Charleston.
The Sesquicentennial remembrance kicked off in November 2010.
Woody also gave an update on the upcoming Cowpea Festival.
Grammy Award-winning artist Billy Dean will headline the event along with area artists the Collins Brothers Band, Cool Mule, Bad Tattoo, The Lattimore, Men of Praise and the Browns.
The event is sponsored by Bush Brothers Beans, Whirlpool and many others.
During the inaugural Cowpea Festival in 2012, several thousand visitors enjoyed the day at Charleston City Park where activities, music and other events went on throughout the day.
“The festival is growing. We had a great time last year and have plans to continue its growth,” Woody said.
Dr. Paul Conn of Lee University will be the guest speaker during the September meeting of MainStreet Cleveland.