Location: Vonore, Tennessee
Webpage: Tennessee State Park
General Description: Although the Tellico Blockhouse is administered as part of Fort Loudoun State Park, it is a separate area across an arm of Tellico Lake. The Tellico Blockhouse was a US fortification from 1794-1807. Unlike most US fortifications on the frontier, the purpose of the Tellico Blockhouse was to protect the Cherokee Nation from encroachment by European settlers. It also served as part of Henry Knox’s plan to civilize the American Indians by teaching them agriculture and industry. Unlike Fort Loudoun, the Tellico Blockhouse has only been excavated, so visitors can see the layout of blockhouse buildings. A small interpretative sign provides a sketch and uses for the buildings.
1) Being a very young nation, the US policies towards the Cherokee Indians was different then for other tribes. The Cherokee were often the allies of the US and this Blockhouse was constructed to, in essence, protect their lands. By treaty the US was obligated to limit the expansion of European settlers into Cherokee territory. I am sure the secondary purpose of educating the Indians in agriculture and industry was seen as a benefit to the Cherokee at the time.
2) The Blockhouse is really a fairly small complex of buildings and obviously served more an administrative function then a military. Consequently, it does not take very long to visit the site. However, it’s importance in the early history of the US and the relations with the American Indians, especially the Cherokee, make it a worthwhile visit.