This rather interesting book retells the story of Mary's execution.
County Seat: Erwin

Unicoi County is famous for having once executed an elephant.

In 1916, the Sparks Brothers Circus came to Kingsport. A 9,500 pound elephant named Mary brutally killed her trainer in a parade that took place after the show.

At first it looked like nothing would be done to Mary, but a couple of days later circus officials bowed to public pressure and agreed to put her to death at the next stop, in Erwin. Mary the elephant was hung from a railroad derrick at the Clinchfield Railroad Yards.

She's still buried there, although (oddly enough) no one is exactly sure where the gravesite is.

A sign along the Appalachian Trail
Also: Unicoi County is one of seven east Tennessee counties that contains parts of the Appalachian Trail, which runs 2,175 miles through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. There are people who have hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail; it takes about four to six months.

When the Appalachian Trail crosses the Nolichucky River in Unicoi County, it passes very close to Erwin. We couldn't resist taking a few pictures at this wonderful interchange of trail, river, railroad, road and town.

Here's a view of Erwin from a point about a mile walk along the Appalachian Trail toward the south.

You can also see the Nolichucky River from this point, and the train bridge crossing it.

The trail descends toward Erwin.

Now in Erwin, the trail crosses the road and goes right by this hiker hostel (which is sort of like a hotel, only a bit more rugged) called Uncle Johnny's. That's Uncle Johnny sitting there.

The trail crosses the Nolichucky River.

Here is the Unicoi County Courthouse.