(Last Updated On: )
The cabin at Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park, near Byrdstown, Tennessee

Cabin at The Cordell Hull Birthplace. Photo: Brian Stansberry, CC by 3.0, Wikimedia Commons.

If you are a history enthusiast, this park is the place for you. Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park is a 55-acre site situated on the Highland Rim, north of Cookeville, near Byrdstown, close to the Kentucky border.

The site features:

  • Cordell Hull’s log cabin birthplace and period gardens
  • Cordell Hull Museum
  • Hull Library and Archives
  • Bunkum Cave

The state park was made in the birthplace of Cordell Hull, the US Secretary of State. Cordell Hull won a Nobel Prize for Peace for his role in establishing the United Nations. Cordell Hull was born in 1955 in a log cabin in Pickett County, Tennessee.

Cordell served as U.S Secretary of State for 11 years until ill health forced him to resign on November 27, 1944. He retired at sixty-two before the final ratification of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. President Roosevelt hailed Secretary Hull as “the one person in all the world who has done the most to make this great plan for peace an effective fact.”

Cordell Hull received the Nobel Prize for Peace following his nomination by President Roosevelt. This was in recognition of his work in the Western Hemispheres, international trade agreements, and his efforts in the establishment of the United Nations.

The Hull Library and Archives present a rich history of Cordell Hull not found anywhere else. It consists of over 1,500 books and hundreds of original photographs, three-dimensional objects, and documents. If you are interested in diving into his contributions to the US, his birthplace answers all your questions. There is also a replica of his Nobel Prize for Peace for visitors to view.

Aside from learning everything there is to know about one of America’s most impactful persons, Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park is a great place to visit. The log cabin is located on gentle slope hills with a beautiful green landscape. The period gardens are a sight to behold.

The Bunkum Cave Loop Trail meanders through a deciduous forest before entering the impressive cave. Cordell’s grandfather made moonshine in the Bunkum Cave in the 19th century. The cave is impressive and not too difficult to navigate.

Activities

This park is great for exploration, especially for history fans. The Hull’s log cabin birthplace and Cordell Hull Museum offer a rich history of the Nobel Prize winner and the Tennessee native. You will get to learn all about his fascinating life and his other positions including Secretary of State. This is a day-use park that has picnic facilities and is great for a short visit. The period gardens are a refreshing sight.

The park has a moderate trail that leads to an overlook and entrance to the historic Bunkum Cave.

Caving

The Bunkum Cave is a great place to explore for any caving fan. The cave is a historic location since Cordell Hull’s father used to make moonshine in it in the 19th century. The entrance is quite impressive, 100 feet wide by 50 feet tall. The cave is easy to explore with crawfish to be spotted along the way. It is an open cave although you will need headlights in some sections.

The cave is part of the Bunkum Cave trail that is in the park. The cave provides you with an opportunity to self-guide. It has three water features that do not require you to crawl or self-exert. The cave doesn’t have a big temperature drop.

Visitors to the park all have rave reviews of the cave praising it as the highlight of the trip. The Bunkum cave is huge and breathtaking just from the entrance alone. It is a hidden gem for any caving enthusiast. The cave is open to the public on May 1 through August 31.

May 1 through August 31. You will need a cave permit to explore from the Tennessee State Parks website.

Hiking

There is one trail in the park, the Bunkum Cave Trail. The trail is about 1.5 miles long and is classified as moderate. There are sections, especially near the entrance of the cave, that is slightly strenuous. The trail meanders through the cave where you will descend a steep staircase to the entrance of the cave.

However, the trail gets pretty flat and clear as you leave the cave. The trail has plenty of roots and rocks to walk over and the overlook is pretty impressive. You can spot deer on your way and maybe some rabbits. There are plenty of green leaves filling the path and since it is a deciduous forest, visiting during Fall will make it all the more stunning.

Interpretive Programs

There are three interpretive programs in the state park; Historical Garden, Speaker Series, and Planned Programs.

Historical Garden

This program runs mainly during warm weather. You can join the park staff in tending to an 1870s vegetable and herb garden. The garden is mainly used for programming in the summer months.

Speaker Series

Every first Saturday of the month at 1:00 PM central time, Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park hosts a Speaker Series. The series covers various topics that are relevant to the historical and cultural nature of the park.

Planned Programs

The park has programs specially made for school groups. These programs are educational and interpretive covering the history of the iconic Cordell Hull. You can call the park to find out more information.

Educational Programs

With the rich history of one of the Laureates of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park has a lot for students to learn. Educators get to work with a Park Ranger to prepare a program for their students. Like most Tennessee state parks, Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park provides accessible, experiential educational opportunities that are engaging and educative for your students.

Types of Educational Programs in Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park:

  • Field trips to the park
  • Ranger classroom or school visits
  • Custom programs

Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park offers programs that cover topics such as:

  • Geology
  • Frontier Life
  • Conservation
  • Regional, State, and National History
  • Park Career Options

Park Location

Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park
1300 Cordell Hull Memorial Drive
Byrdstown, TN 38549
Phone: 931.864.3247

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showing some hiking trails at Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park: