The Charles Hall Museum exists to preserve Native American, Appalachian and local history with an emphasis on the Greater Tellico Plains area. Born in Tellico Plains in 1924, Charles was a local historian since boyhood. Among the first white settlers in the area, his mother’s family settled in Tellico Plains by 1830. His father’s family settled in the area by 1908 and moved within the city limits in 1929. Charles served Tellico Plains as mayor for 31 years, as alderman-recorder for two years, as Justice of the Peace for six years, and as a county commissioner for six years. Showcased in two Museum buildings are his magnificent collections of historical memorabilia, artifacts, equipment, guns, antique telephones, coins and currency, photos, and so much more. Along with his collections, the Museum has acquired many public donations since opening in 2003. There are currently over 10,000 artifacts and thousands of historical pictures and documents either displayed or archived for future reference. Tellico Plains is a special place with a rich heritage and limitless possibilities.
The Hall Museum is not family owned. The museum operates as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) foundation governed by a board of directors. Charles and his wife, Billie built Building #1 of the Museum in 2003 and Building #2 in 2008 and gave both to a foundation for the benefit of Tellico Plains and surrounding communities. In 2022 over 40,000 people visited the Museum. Many were school children on field trips that came to learn about our heritage.
The Hall Museum is funded in part by a percentage of sales from the the gifts shops that are located on the premises and donations. Admission is free, but your contributions help ensure the long term financial stability of the Museum. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
A few of the artifacts in -
CHARLES HALL MUSEUM BUILDING 1
330 plus historical firearms- 450 year old Matchlock Musket, 1776 Brown Bell Musket, 1824 Harpers Ferry Rifle, Military weapons include a British Sten gun, plus 30 caliber & 50 caliber machine guns
Military Relics from Civil War, WW1, WW2
Antique Coins and Currency- 1/2 cent to $10,000 gold certificate
Native American tools, projectile points, beads, jewelry, pottery, and more
1800s pig irons and sundial from Tellico Iron Works
Antique tools and cross cut saws
Local historical pictures, documents, and maps
First bank safe and deposit boxes in Tellico Plains
Sound & music machines- first 1887 Edison phonographs, Victor Talking Machines, Victrolas, antique radios, and first television in Tellico Plains
Office Machines- unique antique typewriters, adding machines, post office and bank machines
Antique musical instruments- 1800's organ, Melodian, Ukelin, guitar, mandolin, and a 6 sided harmonica
Uncle Josh Graves "King of Dobro" and Nephew Tim Graves Music Display that includes history of the Tellico Plains Natives and personal dobros
A few of the artifacts in -
CHARLES HALL MUSEUM Bld 2
TELEPHONE MUSEUM SECTION
400 plus antique telephones from 1880's to 1980's
800 plus unique telephone insulators
16 Manual Switchboards-last one used in Tennessee and the last one used in Tellico Plains
Cross section view of underground cable vault
The last Electromechanical Dial Switching Station used in TN, set up and working (1926-1986-South Pittsburgh, TN)
500 antique telephone tools and test equipment
4 telephone booths, including a cast iron booth from England
Complete local Moonshine Still
1934 Restored Plymouth automobile
1922 Model T Ford telephone truck
Commemorative Harley Motorcycles
Antique tools, logging tools, log tongs, saws, and black smithing tools
Early Appalachian homesteading artifacts include antique washing machines, cook stoves, pots, treadle sewing machines, weavers loom, spinning wheels, and corn grinders
USFS Fire Finder from local Fire Tower
1906 Permanent Wave Machine
1860s grinding stones from Barney Creek Mill in Coker Creek area
Madisonville, TN antique railroad cart
Cherohala Skyway/Wagon Train Display
“A Story of Great Injustice, Loss, Suffering, Survival and Rebuilding”
The Hall Museum and Heritage Center is an intrepretative center, designated by the National Park Service/National Trails Office as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. With a focus on Monroe and McMinn counties, intrepretative panels, brochures and relics regarding the Cherokee and the Trail of Tears provide information and education about this dark era in American history.
Spanning nine states, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail traces the steps of the Cherokee people during the Forced Removal of 1838. The United States Army removed more than 16,000 Cherokee from their homes in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and forced them to travel by foot, horse, wagon or boat to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Approximately 4,000 died on the journey due to rampant disease, exposure from the harsh winter conditions, drownings during river crossings, and starvation due to lack of food.
Over 3,000 North Carolina Cherokee in separate detachments passed through and camped at Tellico Plains and Fort Armistead, a deportation fort in Coker Creek, on the roundup trail from Fort Butler (Murphy, North Carolina) to Fort Cass (Charleston, Tennessee). Fort Cass was the United States military headquarters for the entire Cherokee Trail of Tears removal.
A testament to great survival skills and resilience, the Cherokee people soon rebuilt their lives in the new territory.
Sources: nctrailoftears.org; Riggs Brett 2014 “Like a Distempered Dream” Unpub Manuscript:An Evaluation of Cherokee Deportation Routes through Monroe and McMinn Counties, Tennessee”
“We were eight days in making the journey (80 miles from Fort Butler to Fort Cass) and it was pitiful to behold the women and children, who suffered exceedingly, as they were all obliged to walk .”
Dairy of Lt. John Phelps June 22, 1838
Are you interested in learning more about the National Trail of Tears Historic Trail? For more information visit: nationaltota.com
For an interactive map and guide to visit sites along the National Trail of Tears Historic Trail, download the app, NPS.gov. Choose the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and zoom in to find the details you need for trip planning. Learn more about the trail and historic sites you can visit along the trail from museums, interpretive centers and historic sites that provide information and interpretation, The trail traversed through nine states.