Randolph - 2nd Chickasaw Bluff Protected & Dedicated as Park

Memphis sits on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff; Randolph is upriver on the 2nd.

The four bluffs were named and numbered by the French as they headed down the Mississippi River through Chickasaw territory. Whether the water is high or low, the river is always adjacent to the land at these four high spots. The bluffs were the perfect sites for forts and later for river towns.

Because of their geographical, historical, and cultural significance, the bluffs today play an important role in the trails and greenways movement.

Last year, the TN Parks and Greenways Foundation, whose mission is to save Tennessee’s natural treasures, purchased Randolph’s bluff and dedicated it as a historic park.

Click "read more" below for the Commercial Appeal article on the dedication and links to additional information.

Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation dedicates Randolph Bluff Historic Park in Tipton County
Nonprofit group looks to generate tourism dollars
By Sherri Drake Silence, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Friday, October 10, 2008

State conservationists purchased property on Randolph's bluff to promote the remote Tipton County community's rich Civil War history and share its great Mississippi River view.

"It's the prettiest view I've ever seen of the Mississippi River," said Kathleen Williams, president and executive director of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. "It's just incredible."

The nonprofit group -- with a mission to "save Tennessee's natural treasures" -- paid about $378,000 for 19 acres in the Randolph community, near Burlison.

Saturday, conservationists, community members, leaders and historians will dedicate Randolph Bluff Historic Park. The foundation needs to raise $356,000 to pay off a loan used to buy the land.

The park in Randolph is part of a larger plan to create a scenic byway that connects historic sites along the Mississippi River. State Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, actively supports the effort.

Williams' foundation partners with the Mississippi River Corridor Tennessee, which promotes economic development, land and wildlife preservation in six counties that border the river.

Tipton County Executive Jeff Huffman said the park in Randolph would generate tourism dollars for the area.

"We have this great natural resource here, right on the boundary of Tipton County," Huffman said. "It gives us an opportunity to really take advantage of that resource."

In the 1830s, Randolph rivaled Memphis as one of the largest river towns in West Tennessee, said Tipton historian David A. Gwinn.

"It was a very important town in its day," Gwinn said.

Contributing to its demise: the river changed course, Memphis got the railroad and Union Gen. William Sherman destroyed the town with fire during the Civil War. Tennessee built Fort Wright in Randolph.

Now, Randolph -- with about 200 residents -- has a few homes with river views, a boat dock, bar and church.

Williams said she'd love to see the park lure hikers, bicyclists and kayakers.

A few locals -- including lifelong Randolph resident Norma Glass -- aren't so sure they like the change, saying it's not always a good thing to live next to a park.

"I guess if they don't allow all the riffraff in, I guess that'll be all right," she said.

"I think there's some concern that there's going to be this onslaught of tourists," Huffman said. "I don't think that's going to be the case at all. I see it as an asset."

The kickoff celebration will start at noon Saturday at 198 Ballard Slough Road.

"Parks make good neighbors," Williams said.

Click here for more information about TN Parks and Greenways Foundation.
Click here for more information about MS River Corridor Tennessee.