By Ashley Rader
While an armed attack is unlikely, staff at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park still hope the collapsed portions of the fort’s wooden wall will soon be repaired.
Several large poles along the south-facing palisade, or wooden wall, collapsed in January after rotting away near the ground. The fallen poles leave several gaps in the palisade, giving it the appearance of a jack-o-lantern smile. To keep visitors to the historic area away, caution tape surrounds the area where the poles have fallen.
Park Manager Jennifer Bauer said the park was working with the state to get bids to make repairs to the fort wall. She said the repairs would all be state-funded.
The wall that lost part of its timbers had been rebuilt three years ago in the first phase of a process to completely renovate the fort. Bauer said that because the wall had so recently been constructed, the collapse led park and state officials to believe the failure was a result of construction issues during the reconstruction.
Bauer said the replica of Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park was built in 1975. The initial plan had been to renovate one wall of the fort at a time, until the entire structure had been reconstructed. Now, the state will have to start back at the beginning and repair the first wall.