If Kentucky is to the west, why did I start out by traveling east? Boone needed more men to cut the road than what he gathered at Long Island of the Holston and he would find them at Anderson Blockhouse.
A blockhouse is a small, 2 story fortification where the second floor is larger and protrudes out from the first floor. It was built this way so the pioneers inside could fire their weapons straight down at attackers who approached the walls of the building.
Many blockhouses were built along the roads into the wilderness to serve as resting points for the travelers,and Anderson’s Blockhouse was the most well known. It was so famous that many simply referred to it as “The Blockhouse”. It was the last stopping point for pioneers before leaving civilization behind and entering the true wilderness. Roads from all points, north, east and south, converged to make this location a sort of “central station”. Small groups would wait there until others arrived, forming larger groups, which could travel in greater safety.
The Anderson family would supply, entertain and protect the travelers as best they could but being on the edge of the untamed west was fraught with danger. More than a few times, the Anderson’s had to retreat east to safer fortresses to avoid attacking Indians. But they always returned to the blockhouse. No doubt Joshua passed by the blockhouse, as a marching soldier or adventuresome pioneer, on his way to Fort Boonesborough. So that’s where I’m headed.
The blockhouse, which was made of heavy timbers, is long gone, Unnecessary in a more peaceful time and decayed as most lumber is from two and a half centuries past. The above replica can be seen at Natural Tunnel State Park. Today, on the spot just east of Wadlow Gap Rd. on E. Carter’s Valley Rd. is a simple monument as a reminder of what it took to survive a life we no longer have to live.