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Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park

Location: Byrdstown, Tenn.

Acreage: 55 acres.

Activities: History, hiking.


The Cordell Hull Birthplace & Museum is a 55-acre historic park that pays homage to the father of the United Nations. The park includes the Hull Library & Archives, which houses Hull’s entire collection of more than 1,500 books and hundreds of photographs, along with a replica of his Nobel Peace Prize.


Born Oct. 2, 1871, Cordell Hull was a Congressman and U.S. Senator from Tennessee before being appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the longest-serving U.S. Secretary of State, a position he held for 11 years.

Born in a log cabin in Pickett County, Tenn., Cordell Hull was the third of five sons. He gave his first speech at the age of 16, was elected chairman of the Clay County (Tenn.) Democratic Party at the age of 19, and was elected to the state legislature at the age of 21. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, a judge, and served 11 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hull was chairman of the Democratic National Committee, helped persuade Albert Gore Sr. to run for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee, and was himself elected to Senate in 1930, before resigning three years later to join the Roosevelt administration. 

Hull served in that capacity through much of World War II, and was credited as the architect of the United Nations, which was established as a world organization to prevent a third world war. Hull drafted the U.N. charter in 1943. In 1945, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in establishing the U.N., and he was referred to by Roosevelt as the Father of the United Nations.

Hull died in Washington, D.C. in July 1955, and was buried in the vault of the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea in the Washington National Cathedral. 

Hull’s legacy was preserved through the building of the Cordell Hull Dam on the Cumberland River near Carthage, Tenn. And, in 1997, the Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park was established to preserve his birthplace and the personal belongings that Hull had donated to Pickett County. The state had purchased the log cabin where Hull was born in 1953. It was taken apart and rebuilt after its purchase, and in 1972 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cabin was again rebuilt in 1996 to improve its historical accuracy, and the state park was established the following year.

More than just history

In addition to the Hull cabin and museum, the state park also includes the Bunkum Cave Loop Trail, a 2.5-mile round-trip hike that leads to Bunkum Cave, where Hull’s father made moonshine in the 19th century. The cave entrance measures 100 ft. wide by 30 ft. tall, and it is open to the public from May 1 to August 31 each year.

Ben Garrett
Ben Garretthttp://gocumberlands.com
Ben Garrett is publisher of Go Cumberlands. He lives in Oneida, Tennessee with his wife, three kids and dog, Boone.

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