I received E-Mail that said:
I took a wrong turn at the Tennessee Alabama line. I had just left the town of Sewanee, TN after riding through Monteagle. I'm not sure where I was when something caught my eye on a long straight away at least 80mph. I grabbed the brakes & made that Harley do the quickest 180 yet for this photo. Could it be? Out of the blue? Take a look at the photo. Any info on this structure would be appreciated.
I doubt that this is a castle, but it sure is interesting. Does anyone know anything about it?
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
My brother lives in Monteagle, grew up there, and I've been waiting on him to let me know what this 'castle' is, so I could email you. It's actually in Sherwood, TN, outside of Sewanee. It's not a castle. It is an old business (maybe rock quarry or something) that went out of business many years ago. Our mother said it looks the same as it did when she was growing up, so it's been out of business maybe fifty years or so. I hope someone else can tell what kind of business it was
Later, I received E-Mail that said:
The Unknown Castle in Sewanee, Tennessee is the Gager Lime Manufacturing Company Mine Building in Sherwood, Tennessee.
According to online sources the Company was started sometime around 1892 and closed in 1949.
This page will give you more information. http://www.sherwoodtenn.com/gager/gager.htm
The City is hoping to rezone the area and perhaps tear down the structures.
On 6-4-07, I received E-Mail that said:
This is the Gager Mine. It was a very big limestone mine in the early 1900's but closed down in the 1940's I believe. The closure was devastating to the local population. It is part of a 3000 acre piece of property. The current owner is trying to reopen the mine but the state is trying to keep him from doing it. They claim there is some kind of snail that is indigenous to the area that the mine would adversely effect. It is amazing that the mine ran for about 40 years and didn't kill them but now it would be a threat. The locals want the mine to reopen as it would mean they would have local employment and not have to travel to Alabama to get jobs.
Isn't it great that a snail can prevent people from earning a living? Where is the logic, but that is what they claim. Apparently the owner has managed to work something out with the state and has been able to do some work on the place.
As for the buildings, I have been there within the last 5 years and they are in serious decline and dangerous condition. It would be nice to save them but it would cost hundreds of thousands if not millions to restore them to just a safe condition, let alone try to renovate them for some use other than the old lime kilns that you have pictured. Anything you did to restore them would take a long time and LOTS of cash. You might not be able to make anything back from the investment even in 50 years. They are falling down, have huge gaping holes in the walls and roof and so much undergrowth it would take a crew of 6-10 up to 6 months just to clear. About 20 years ago someone went in and was going to take the steel out of the buildings and all they ended up doing was pulling on it and damaging the buildings even more.
Castle it isn't. Dangerous old mine buildings it is.
On 2-11-10, I received e-mail that said:
I saw the picture of the unknown castle in Sewanee, Tennessee. The town you were in is called Sherwood. I live about 10 minutes from the structure. That is not a castle. It used to be Gager Mining Company way back in the 1900s. There is a new mining company there now. It is now called Sherwood Mining Company. My dad is the supervisor at this new company. It is truly a very beautiful and breathtaking structure. I have only been in it once. It has now been condemned because it is falling down, so it is very dangerous. There was also part of a movie filmed in it once.
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Photo sent in by Victor.