Both sides of my family are from Bean Station in Grainger County, TN so I’ve been there many, many times. Several family members still live there, but most of my parents’ siblings left there between the 1940s and 1960s. My parents left and moved to a bigger town across the lake. So I have cousins spread out between Johnson City and Knoxville. My mother still owns the old homeplace and just a little land around it. The rest was sold off years ago. When my dad’s father died, his family sold off that homeplace almost immediately. My brother laments this because he was too young to buy it at the time. I wasn’t even 1 year old. No one in the family wanted it.
The land around the lake doesn’t hold much sentimentality for my cousins and their children for some reason. Bean Station was a place to escape from, it seems. The town itself hasn’t grown much over the years. There’s still only one grocery store and it’s locally owned, although dollar stores and some small eateries have appeared. It’s still where we buy our fireworks for Independence Day and there are stores there selling them that have been for what seems like forever. The town does have a wonderful senior center and a very active community.
Lake property has increased in value as people from outside of the county and the state have moved in to build homes with lake access. But the people who grew up there don’t want to go back. I’ve always found that interesting.
I do enjoy visiting the area there and revisiting my childhood memories. I also enjoy listening to my parents talk about where they fished and where they were baptized in the lake. I will always be connected to that area.
If you haven’t made a trip to Bean Station, I highly recommend it. There is a Harvest Pride festival that takes place each October if you need a specific reason to visit. It’s a beautiful part of the country.