Marble Springs Stargazing
Courtesy of Marble Springs State Historic Site

Saturday, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Marble Springs State Historic Site will host a new moon stargazing session.

The event will be facilitated by Gary Noland, adjunct instructor of astronomy at UT. Guests will meet at the cottage office at 6:00 p.m., and the event will begin with a discussion and video about the winter night sky before concluding with the stargazing portion of the program.

During the stargazing session, Marble Springs hopes to educate the public about constellations and other celestial events while inspiring an interest in astronomy and encouraging people to visit the site.

“Anyone who enjoys or studies astronomy will find this a great workshop to attend,” interim director of the site Samantha Hickey said.

Some constellations and asterisms are more difficult to view during the winter months due to light reflecting off the moon’s surface, which casts a bright light and interferes with viewing objects in the night sky — especially those that are already fairly dim. However, during the new moon, constellations such as Pegasus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia become easier to see.

Marble Springs holds stargazing workshops every year for the public since the lack of light pollution allows for a clear sky and better viewing of the stars. The cost of attending is a $1 donation per person.

“There is something special about viewing the stars on the historic property of our first governor,” executive director at Marble Springs Anna Chappelle said.

Marble Springs is the last standing home of John Sevier, who was born in Virginia in 1745. Sevier became a Revolutionary War hero in the Battle of Kings' Mountain in 1780 and eventually became the first governor of Tennessee.

The 350-acre farm earned its name from the Tennessee pink marble quarried on the site and the natural springs which flow through the land.

The site is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Tennessee Historical Commission, and it is further supplemented by additional support and funds raised by the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association. The non-profit association helps maintain Marble Springs and aims to create interest and inspiration about the site's preservation and restoration. It also educates the general public about late 18th and early 19th century lifestyles in Tennessee.

Several historic structures representing Sevier’s life and experiences include the Walker Cabin, Loom House, McCall Smokehouse and Spring House. Many of them are open for tours.

Built in 1850, the McCall Smokehouse was donated by the McCall family, whose farm was located a few miles south of Marble Springs.

The Loom House was constructed in 1970 with logs from the McCall farm. It contains looms and wheels for spinning wool and flax to recreate the traditional lifestyles from Sevier's era.

The Walker Cabin, built in 1828, is based on the design of an old frontier tavern. It was originally located on a farm off Walker Springs Road in Knox County until, fully intact, it was moved to Marble Springs.

Other events are hosted here throughout the year, including a farmers' market in the fall. The site also provides the annual Christmas Candlelight Tours, which allow visitors to experience Mable Springs by candlelight.

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