In the early 1980's, my father, Carson Camp, decided that he would take the liberty to uncover a long-lost treasure in the forest that had been smothered by tons of garbage, dumped illegally. Everyone thought he was crazy for attempting to clean up such a mess, but my father was not shaken by the rumors, doubts and comments.
He uncovered the ruins of 268 beehive coke ovens, revealing a rich history that had been forgotten by the small town of Dunlap, Tennessee. But, he didn't stop with this project of preservation once he removed the garbage around the area. He took several steps further and gained support from the community and anyone who wanted to donate to the cause. Ultimately, enough time, care and donations were given and the grounds that once consisted of vegetation and trash became the "Coke Ovens Park and Museum".
The park and museum exist to educate on and preserve the history of coal mining. The park and museum is maintained by my family as well as volunteers. We are a non-profit organization and survive with donations and efforts from those who genuinely want to help.
Currently, I am not able to fully participate in activities at the Coke Ovens due to my living situation in the state of Texas. I hope that one day I can return to Tennessee and help to improve the park and museum so that we acquire the interest of a younger generation. I never want the park to become a dump again. The park and museum are evidence of hard work and passion and I never want to see that fade away.
Since I am living 866 miles (13 hours and five minutes) away from the park, my only option is to help promote it through social media. That's why I have created and/or updated a Pinterest board, a Facebook page and an Instagram account. Please visit all three and show your support! We would love to have you visit us in person as well! There is no fee to enter the park or museum. Donations only.
Below are a few photos that show the astounding beauty of the park and museum.
I am truly honored to be a part of this organization and I look forward to taking up responsibility for the establishment in my future.