ALTENN - alternate Tennessee

revised 9-04

Welcome to the Altenn pages. Here are articles and directions to some of the lesser known places in Tennessee. Some are easily reached, while others take some challenge.


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Mount Pleasant church

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Hidden Hollow

special note - Mr. Lee passed away in July 2004. The creator and builder of this wonderful place will be remembered by many. As of this writing the grounds are still open under a new management.


Imagine a playground 80 acres big. That is Hidden Hollow nestled in a small valley near Cookeville Tenn. There you will find picnic areas galore, a small zoo, fishing ponds, a water mill, and all kinds of paths to follow.

Adults and kids alike usually find enjoyment at Hidden Hollow. It is the continuing creation of Mr. Arda Lee who built the fantasy land from an old farm which he bought decades ago.

At the top of the property, a small two story chapel holds a thirty foot lighted cross, which can be seen from the interstate at night. Gravel roads wind through the land allowing access to almost any point of interest.

In addition, there's plenty of play houses and structures for the younger kids, volleyballs courts, and a recreation room for the older. A small cafe can supply hot cooked food if desired.

One may even find a small chapel tucked away under some massive boulders of the mountain side. Here, marriages are performed, giving the couple a unique start to a new life.

Admission is $1 per person. Extra fees apply to fishing and reservations. Plan on two or more hours to be able to take in all of the sites. It closes at 9:30 pm. It is open every day of the year; but you may want to call first to check weather conditions, interruptions in his schedule, etc.

cautions - if you plan to outdoor picnic, you may want to take along some disinfectant. Clean the tables thoroughly before using them. There's a lot of birds flying about.

directions - - take Interstate 40 to Cookeville. Exit on # 290 (highway 70). Go south on highway 70 just one block. Turn left onto Poplar Grove Rd. and follow the signs. About two miles and as many turns you will arrive at the grounds. Phone number is 931-526-4038

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The Chapel Hill lights

Along the railroad tracks in a small southern Tennessee town, the phenomenon known as the Chapel Hill Ghost, or the Chapel Hill Lights continue to awe crowds of interested viewers.

Just what it actually is, no one seems to know. The theories are many. Some offer the theory of swamp gas, phosphate lights, pranksters etc. I will offer my views here, although it too is an incomplete theory. I have seen the lights over thirty times; and I have seen very little similarities from each performance.

They are lights, but never have I seen the same pattern repeated. At time the lights are dim and small, other times large and bright. They may hover for a while, then suddenly dart or float away. At other times they seem to coax your attention, and even pursuit.

Once they appeared as cats eyes reflecting light in the the darkness. But at one point, they simply parted and scattered into two directions. Another time, they resembled a roman candle, shooting off its different colored flames. Often at the good locations, it will appear first on the north side, then suddenly shift to the south.

It's a fascinating thing to watch. There are many accounts from other parties, some claming that the light actually hovered over their cars. Others say that they were actually attacked by the light. In my experience, the light never comes to the point of physical contact. Once it did appear to pass quickly through the group, but disappeared during the moment of impact, only to reappear on the north side shooting along the tracks.

If you go, show the ghost some respect. It does not appear to the mocking, loud, or boisterous onlookers. Keep the talking to a minimum; and do not challenge it in a light way. It seems to be more likely to show if these conditions are met.

Things to remember - most of the land on which you must tread is owned is by the railroad. It is always best of course not to stand on the railroad tracks; and special care should be taken to make sure that you always have an escape route. Do not get on the bridges. The trains can appear quite suddenly, even when oncoming from your front. Derailments can happen, and several yards of distance from the tracks is required for a safety zone.

It is illegal in the town of Chapel Hill, to stand at the tracks and watch the light. For realitvely safe zones directions can be obtained. I strongly recommend that you approach this area in a civil manner. The neighbors do keep watch and are quick to report any suspicious activity. Guided tours are also available for a charge, and strict conditions apply. - dec - 2000 -

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