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Southern Railway

Burnside has a rich railway history, all stemming from the time at which it was a junction for the Cumberland and South Fork railroad.

During that time, Burnside was a center for shipping by rail and steamboats. Its lumber mills sent products around the world. The town boasted retail stores, saloons, a post office, restaurants, churches, a bank, hotels, and even Burnside Academy – the first Wesleyan preparatory school in the state. Rail was essential to growing this local economy, and keeping national freight moving.

Of course, that is all under water now. When Lake Cumberland was created, not only was Burnside and its railroad submerged, the Southern Railway had to re-route their track over the Cumberland River and build a new bridge. When Lake Cumberland’s water level was lowered to reduce pressure on the dam, Burnside was revealed including foundations and sidewalk. But as you hike through our woods and explore the lake, railway tunnels can still be seen today.