The Gap Gazer: April 2018

Dear Faithful Reader,

What a busy year upcoming in the Gap! Come on down! Enjoy the peace and offerings of the mountain hollow community!

The lead article about investment in the Gap took a lot of work and research and is presented as an article without first person editorial opinion. The actual incident which precipitated the article may resolve itself quietly if investors choose not to pay higher prices to buy investment property in the town. Still the premise is food for thought.

I truly love it here and our tiny ever developing 'estate' across from the two year old dog park is where my little two person, two dog family have chosen to put down roots.....God so blessed us with the hurricane which actually sent us in this direction and the older fixer upper home available when we were looking.

I hope those who do live here long term appreciate looking up at the mountain beauty every day and those readers who are not from here, will come and share our character and beauty someday....


Kathy Matthews, Editor


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

News tips are appreciated!

Volume 9, Issue 4

L: Looking for buds on the snowy tree. Where or where can spring be? R: Buds popping out? Spring must be about!

Will the Gap Survive?

Over a century ago, Cumberland Gap transformed from a break in the mountains leading West to a settlement, a place to set down roots. Even during the Civil War, few shots were fired and few battles fought. Though all the trees were cut to make subterfuge impossible, the Gap regrew to its natural state. The actual setting seemed to command respect for its beauty and unity. Never quite the Victorian town claimed to be today, Cumberland Gap was a booming factory and mining town, filled with laughter, families and memories.

Three weeks ago, a couple from the Michigan came to view a home; a place to retire comfortably as part of a small mountain community. They envisioned themselves sitting on their front porch, chatting at days’ end, but the realtor and property owner saw only dollar signs and rental units. The couple were shocked and discouraged by a listing price set to reflect the rental rate value, quite a bit above the one they anticipated based upon actual appraisal and comparison. They were told that the seller wanted to sell this home and another in Harrogate as a rental package for investors, not really to actual owner/dwellers. When they expressed their disappointment, the realtor wrote them, “Signs have gone up on both properties and we are doing premarketing to our investors before the properties hit MLS…I typically show our investors our “coming soon” properties first.”

The town of Cumberland Gap doubles in population when the college is in session. Most students are good neighbors while they are here, frequenting the businesses and helping with community events. Some amazing pre-doctoral students even staff the volunteer fire department, obtaining valuable real-life expertise. Still, when these students are graduated, they have few roots to dig. The sense of community based upon years of residence and pride of home isn’t there. Renters do pay some of the increasing taxes through rent but this is only for a few years. Permanent residents view increases and changes for the long term. Rental units do benefit many in the Gap; some investors live here; others just do not want to change the flavor of community they market. These individuals attempt to follow historical guidelines and one even developed a rental for members of the volunteer fire department to benefit the area. Others really have little interest in the town itself nor do they have concern for settled residents who call the Gap home. Balance is needed to preserve hometown character.

The area survived a major civil war; it has survived fluctuations in the economy and politics; it has even survived the murder of a prominent business man. The life of the community has waxed and waned but is still here for visitors to compliment,” what a perfectly quaint community frozen in time, what a peaceful place to live.” The overlying question is: “Can the community survive investors and an encroaching college which seems to want to incorporate the Gap, much the way they did Harrogate?” The experience of a couple who just wanted to call the community home reveals a threat to those who do call Cumberland Gap home by choice.

LMU Brings Events to the Gap

The second annual Mountain Fiesta bills itself as an event designed to celebrate Appalachia and Latin America with “food, music, culture, and art”. Zachary Greene, an instructor at the Frank White Academy of Lincoln Memorial University, and his students are planning this festival, hoping to build upon their first annual Fiesta rain washout last spring. Immersion into the diversity of the greater world and celebration of differences and unity are goals of this free event.

Latin America culture will be presented and open for participation; festival goers can dance, learn language and eat the food of those who call Latin America home. Instructors from Salsa Knox Dance Company in Knoxville will be available to instruct free Latin dance classes.

The Fiesta is family friendly and open to all! Rain will not stop it as the LMU conference center will again be a backup location. The Latin/ Appalachian music fusion group Appalatin is scheduled for a kick off concert in the LMU Convention Center the night before the Fiesta.

A first this year, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will team their new student registration with a Street Fair on April 7th from noon until 5 pm in downtown Cumberland Gap.

Representatives of LMU explained to the Gap Aldermen Board that they want new students and families to know what Cumberland Gap has to offer. Since LMU has reached into the Gap with their Art Curriculum, their Veterinary students live above the town and use the town dog park, and the town fire department is staffed by students; many graduate students do choose to live in the town. Other students often do not realize what the historic town has to offer.

The street fair will introduce local businesses and is designed to familiarize new students the riches hidden in their new college area.

Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the “music and heritage of the mountain people “ April 14 & May 19 @ 7:30 pm-LMU Convention Center. $12 at the door.

LMU Street Fair April 7 Noon top 5 pm. Food, music, Art, an introduction to the Gap for all!

Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta April21st. Well Being Retreat Center. 555 NarrowsRd Tazewell TN 10 AM

Appalatin Concert LMU Convention Center April 20 high-energy Latin music fused with Appalachian roots. Sponsored by J. Frank White Academy's World Culture Club

2nd Annual Mountain Fiesta April 21st CumberlandGap. Family Fun! Begins at 11 AM

Aunt Sadie’s Yard Sale Cumberland Gap volunteer Fire Dept. Date to be announced.

CGAC Art Extravaganza June 2nd. 11 am-8 pm Art and craft vendors, Family, Fun, Food, wine tasting and much more.

Genealogy Jamboree June 7 (10 am-5pm ) 8 (10-5) 9 Pioneer Day10-6 pm) History, Heritage, Genealogy Research, re-enactors, mountain crafts and lore, and history Nationally recognized and family event.

White Lightning Trail Festival June 22nd (7 pm Beauty Pageant) @ Cumberland Gap High School) and June 23rd ( 10 am-7 pm Downtown Cumberland Gap ). Fast cars, moonshine trail info, quilt show, art and family fun!

Harvest Moon Gala Oct. 13, 2018. Art, food, Music, Silent Auction. Seasonal art for sale & wine tasting. 11 am-8 pm Sponsored by Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op.

Victorian Christmas: Mother and Father Christmas, 10 am at the Victorian home on Colwyn; as well as tree lighting and town merchant Christmas for all. Whole day celebration on Dec. 1 2018. Festival of lights in the Gap.

Polar Bear Dip! Jan. 1, 2019 Noon In front of Little Congress Bicycle Museum

Gap Gazer Statement of Ownership and Responsibility The Gap Gazer is the creation of Kathy Jo Matthews, a Gap resident, and she alone is responsible for the content. The town government and other agencies have no responsibility for publication and distribution of the Gazer. All articles are based on research and are as factually accurate as the editor can present them. Contact the editor at the phone numbers and email address listed in this issue if any questions arise in the veracity of the news presented. The news in each issue is as journalistically correct and as impartially presented as possible. Events posted are all in the immediate tri-state area and if an event is missed, that usually means no one contacted the editor with the information. The ”Matthews’ Musings” is an editorial and, while still based on fact, may contain editorial comment and opinion. Distribution is via email and through stacks of newspapers distributed to the Gap Post Office, the Gap Creek Coffee House, The Pineapple Tearoom, The National Park and the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. The Gazer contains no advertising and is responsible to no one for funding. All printing is at the editor’s expense, eliminating any connections with another entity. The Gap Gazer is produced monthly and is in its 8th year of continuous publication.

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