For more than 150 years, East Tennesseans have experienced disasters of historic proportions.
The 1902 Fraterville Mine explosion took the lives of 216 men and boys. A 1904 head-on passenger train wreck in New Market claimed the lives of 64. In 1906, Jellico was practically destroyed by the explosion of a train car loaded with dynamite. Floodwaters near Rockwood in 1929 took the lives of 7 Boy Scouts and their Scoutmaster. An explosion in 1960 at Kingsport’s Eastman plant killed 16 workers and injured 400. In 2016, a fire in the Great Smoky Mountains claimed the lives of 14 while destroying 2,460 buildings.
Knoxville author Dewaine Speaks chronicles these and other historic tragedies in East Tennessee.