Cordell Hull and Bunkum Cave

Cordell Hull Birthplace

Located 1.5 miles west of HIghway 111 just outside of Byrdstown, Tennessee on Cordell Hull Memorial Blvd., is the Cordell Hull Birthplace and Museum State Park. Hull was Secretary of State during the administration of FDR and is considered by many to be the Father of the United Nations. The site consists of a representation of Hull's log cabin birthplace, activities offices and a museum housing documents and artifacts including a replica of Hull's Nobel Peace Prize.

Recently, with the help of the Friends of Cordell Hull Association, the State purchased additional land containing the scenic and historic Bunkum Cave. With its mouth over 100 feet wide by 30 feet high and bisected by a small, clear stream, Bunkum Cave has been a delight to generations of adventuresome local explorers for years.

One of its most famous visitors was William Hull, Cordell's colorful father. William, known as Bill, arrived in the area owning only the clothes that covered him. The resourceful Hull had "bus'ness" (Tennessean for moonshining) setting up his still in the mouth of Bunkum Cave. He made what the old timers remember as Number Nine Moonshine. By the time he got caught and fined $25 he had $1,000 saved up and quit the moonshining business making it thereafter for personal consumption and in case anyone should get sick in the night. With this grubstake he bought a stand of poplar trees and rafted them down the Cumberland River to Nashville. He ended up perhaps the richest man on the Cumberland Plateau.

In November of 2004, Americorp started Phase 1 of a scenic 1/2 mile trail to an overlook to the cave and another 1/2 mile back to park headquarters. Along the easy hiking trail are native wildflowers and numerous small woodland animals with the dramatic overlook of the cave entrance as the reward for the walk through the cool woods.

The second phase, was completed by Spring 2006,and includes a trail to the entrance of the cave. Access to the cave will be allowed but with the safety of the visitors and protection of the resources in mind, visitors must register with the park office if they plan to enter the cave.

The plans for spring 2007 include creating an additional mile of trail which will create a loop trail for the visitors to enjoy.

- Article written by Lana Baker Rossi, President
Friends of Cordell Hull