OK... the Burgess Falls State Natural Area is more scenic than it is historic. But there is some history here. If you live within an hour or two drive from the place, it is a wonderful field trip. And if you drive from Knoxville to Nashville, or vice versa, you really should stop in and see the place. You'll be utterly overwhelmed by its beauty and by how interesting it is.
When you get to Burgess Falls we suggest you find the informational display and read up on the history of the place. In the 1920s, the city of Cookeville built a hydroelectric dam here -- which is a dam that uses running water to generate electricity. There is still a dam here, just above the first of the three falls that make up Burgess Falls. But it hasn't been used to generate electricity since 1944.
We walked the trail that runs along the river and suggest you do the same. Here are some things you'll see along the way (click on images to make them MUCH larger):