Visiting Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park

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Wes and I had the privilege and honor of visiting the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall, TN recently. We had been wanting to go to this park for quite sometime, and decided to spend the afternoon there whilst returning from our last camping trip a couple of weeks ago. I must say we were both very totally impressed and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there!

Sgt. Alvin C. York also known also as Sergeant York, was one of 11 children born to farming parents living in what is now called Pall Mall, TN. After his application for conscientious objector was denied, he was drafted into the war and became one of the most decorated soldiers of the United States Army, from WWI. He lead an attack on a German machine gun nest, during which he captured 132 prisoners and killed at least 25 enemy soldiers, earning him a Medal of Honor, one of over 40 awards which he earned after returning home from the war.

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I must say one of the most sobering parts of visiting the park, was walking through this replica of a WWI trench. Although I’ve seen photos of them, it’s not the same as actually walking through a structure and imagining how horrible it was for the poor soldiers forced to live and fight in them. There were a couple of small rooms off to the side with a few basic bunk beds in there, and several openings such as this one below, where they would’ve crawled out to fire at the enemy from, which provided hardly any protection.

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I truly can’t imagine how terrifying and terrible it must’ve been for them trying to survive in the trenches.

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Once back home in TN, the war hero was gifted 400 acres of farmland, where he and his family would live the remainder of his life. Besides farming and running a general store and grist mill, York also founded the Alvin C. York Institute, which was a school for underprivileged children since he realized the value of an education while overseas. 

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The historic buildings have been carefully restored and are quite picturesque nestled amongst the surrounding mountains.

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Even though it was very hot that day, we decided to walk through the beautiful vast fields leading to the trail that follows alongside the Wolf River.

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Abundant recent rains has caused the river to swell and turn this amazing tan milk-glass color, which I thought was quite beautiful, especially with the play of shadows and light falling across the opaque surface. Although Wes had seen streams this color many times whilst growing up in rural Southern Indiana, I had never seen anything like it.

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A very long, steep ramp led to the top of a swinging bridge which was a must for us to cross!

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I thought it was amazing and surreal looking from the middle of the bridge!

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Once to the other side, the trail leads a short distance through the woods and ends at a road, where you take a left and walk just up the way to a cemetery where York is buried.

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Returning from our hike and drenched in sweat, we thought it a perfect time to head up to a delightful little general store located next to the park, where we decided to treat ourselves with some hand-dipped ice cream. Of course we got moose tracks and I can’t express how amazing it tasted to two melting souls! We took our ice cream and headed over to York’s gristmill, where I promptly walked down to the river and stood ankle deep in the icy water, whilst exclaiming “It feels so good!

Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park

As we enjoyed our cold, creamy treat, we watched as these 4 men worked at replacing lumber on the outside of the historic mill. I don’t know how many times I said “YIKES!” as I watched them walking on a ladder which was laying atop 4 other ladders propped against the building, while maneuvering long lumber and nailing it to the sides. The fourth man eventually climbed up to the very top scaffolding where he was using a paint gun! After finishing our ice cream, we walked over to the mill to see it closer, and one of the young men had just come down off the ladder and exclaimed “Man, am I ever glad to be back down here!” and I thought to myself, “I bet you are… I sure would be!”

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It was a wonderful afternoon and we both so enjoyed our time spent there. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the park, I highly recommend going to the visitor center where you can learn all about York and see numerous historic photos on display. You can also take guided tours, which Wes and I chose not to do this time, but hope to do so in a future visit.


I have started painting on my miniature of a Silverback Gorilla this past week, which will be featured in the Sketch for Survival with Explorers Against Extinction at The Explorers Club in New York City, NY.   The Online Auction will take place on October 7, 2022, and all proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to this cause. Of course knowing I’m helping to make a difference for endangered animals and the natural world, make this painting even more special and fun to do! I will keep you updated with my progress on it.

gorilla painting


EXQUISITE MINIATURES now on display at The Art & Heritage Center,

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

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