9 Lakes Region - Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council

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Historic Rugby

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Time stands still at Rugby, Tennessee - the restored Victorian village founded in 1880 by British author and social reformer, Thomas Hughes. It was to be a cooperative, class-free, agricultural community for younger sons of English gentry and others wishing to start life anew in America. At its peak in the mid-1880s, some 300 people lived in the colony. More than 65 buildings of Victorian design graced the townscape on East Tennessee's beautiful Cumberland Plateau.

This would-be Utopia survives today as both a living community and a fascinating public historic site, unspoiled by modern development. Twenty original buildings still stand, nestled between the Big South Fork National Recreation Area and the Rugby State Natural Area, surrounded by rugged river gorges and historic trails. Historic Rugby has been open to the public since 1966 and is nationally recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and many others as one of the most authentically restored and preserved communities in America

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