Crab Orchard’s history began in the late 1700’s when early Euro-American settlers migrating west from Knoxville to Nashville discovered a small gap through the Crab Orchard Mountains. The area gained its’ colorful name from the multitude of Crab Apple trees there.
Crab Orchard was plagued by repeated Indian attacks by the Cherokee, Creek, and Shawano tribes. Once the tension between settlers and Indians resided, Walton Road was built to help protect travelers.
Soon after lodging, taverns, and other amenities went up to serve the many migrants passing by the natural landmark of Crab Orchard Mountain. Later the area became known for stone mining, especially for famed Crab Orchard Sandstone, which is a particularly durable member of that stone family used for building.
Crab Orchard Today
As of July 2008, 30 years after it was officially incorporated, Crab Orchard had a population of 930, an 11 percent increase from 2000. The town’s zip code is 37723, and it occupies 11.1 square miles. The Town Hall is located at 338 Hebbertsburg Road, and can be reached by phone at (931) 484 2815.
Local amenities are limited to a pair of gas stations on either side of Main Street just off the 329 exit of I-40, the local post office (154 Main St. (931) 484-9418), and a smattering of churches, an antique shop, and a hardware store. The nearest medical facility is 11 miles Northwest in Crossville, the Cumberland Medical Center.
If you are hiking the Cumberland Trail and find yourself in Crab Orchard, you likely came down off Black Mountain. It is less than five miles from the town center to the top of Black. However the Cumberland Trail SST is currently in the process of obtaining land that would put the nearest trailhead about one mile from the town center.
- To arrive at the Black Mountain trailhead- Take I-40 exit 329 into Crab Orchard. If you were heading East on I-40 you would make a Right turn off the exit onto Market St. (If headed West, Left onto Market St.)
- Follow Market St. for approximately 1000 ft. to a junction where you’ll take a very short jog to the Right on Wheeler Lane. After 200 ft. you’ll be forced Left onto Bat Town Rd.
- Follow Bat Town Rd. approx. 1.5 miles until you come to a non-perpendicular four way stop. Here you take a Left onto Owl Roost Rd.
- Follow Owl Roost Rd. uphill for a little over 2.75 miles to the parking area at the top of the mountain.