Pickett County

Pickett County was formed in 1879 from portions of Overton and Fentress counties.

Historical Narrative

The Cumberland Historic Byway continues its northerly route through Pickett County to the Kentucky State line on US 127 / SR 28, before turning toward the southwest along SR 42. Pickett County was formed in 1879 from portions of Overton and Fentress Counties and was named in honor of Tennessee state legislator Howell L. Pickett. The county, renowned for its scenic beauty, encompasses 240 square miles in upper Middle Tennessee and is the least populous county in the State. Over the years, Pickett County farmers have produced such agricultural products as corn, wheat, oats, grasses, and livestock. However, with the completion of Dale Hollow Reservoir by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1943, the county lost the majority of its best farmland and one-quarter of its population. Timber production was the dominant industry in the early 20th century, but the later construction of modern highways through the Upper Cumberland region combined with inexpensive electricity provided by Dale Hollow Dam attracted light industry and clothing manufacturers to the county, most notably OshKosh B’Gosh.Pickett County features two National Register-listed properties: the Cordell Hull Birthplace and the Pickett County Courthouse. In addition, 140 architectural resources are located within the one-mile buffer of the Scenic Byway. These resources were originally surveyed by Tennessee Tech University in 1991. Tennessee Historical Commission historical markers located along the route of the Byway include one recognizing Cordell Hull. The marker is located on SR 42 and provides direction to the birth place of former U.S. Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Another marker located on SR 42 is titled “Tennessee Lead” and describes how a stolen black and tan hound was sold to George Washington Maupin, who would later breed the dog to become the sire of all Walker, Trigg, and Goodman fox hounds.

The Pickett County Courthouse was listed on the National Register in 1995 for its significance with the governmental history of Pickett County. Located on the Byrdstown public square, the Pickett County Courthouse was completed in 1935 and has served as the center of county politics and government for nearly 80 years. Designed by the Nashville-based architectural firm of Marr and Holman, the Pickett County Courthouse is a representative example of the Colonial Revival style dressed with regional Crab Orchard stone.

The Cordell Hull Birthplace is situated on a ridge between the Wolf and Obed Rivers in Pickett County. The property was listed on the National Register in 1971 for its association with former U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, who served in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration from 1933 to 1944. Hull had previously served as both a U.S. congressman and senator. Known as the “Father of the United Nations,” Hull was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945. According to the National Register form, the log cabin is the only place in Tennessee that is directly associated with Hull. Constructed ca. 1870, the Cordell Hull Birthplace consists of a single-room cabin composed of hewn logs. Connected to the back of the cabin is a log kitchen building that is connected to the cabin by an open breezeway.