The eastern bluff of Ebell Mountain has long been a favorite scenic area of Blount County. This wooded area at one of the highest elevations in the county was chosen as the site for Palisades Park. The most obvious function is an overlook point. The main feature is a sheer sandstone bluff averaging about 60-70 feet in height and extending across the property for more than a 1/4 mile.
It is a wooded area and well suited for outdoor recreation.
Four individuals that had differences in viewpoints, talents, and special abilities formed together to create the Blount County Park and Recreation Board. Members of the board had many similarities in training and experience, which contribute to their ability to work harmoniously as a group. They shared a keen interest in the historical heritage and development of natural and scenic resources of the county.
Amilea Porter, a long time member of the Blount County Park and Recreation Board, who was responsible more than any other person, for the development of Palisades Park. She worked countless hours from 1972, during the early planning stages until her death in late 1980. She has left a monument for park visitors to enjoy for years to come.
Dalton Moss, schoolteacher, principal and U.S. probation officer served as chairman on the board for many years. Mr. Moss had demonstrated special ability as an administrator, in fund raising and in practical building projects.
Mrs. W.R. Sutton, graduate instructor in chemistry, homemaker and civic leader. Mrs. Sutton provided leadership for the Park and Recreation Board programs in other areas of the county. Her organizational and planning abilities were vital in establishing Palisades Park.
D.S. Loyd, vocational agriculture teacher and county agent was the longest active original member of the board. One of his special hobbies was photography, which has been used to record board projects and to prepare slide programs for presentation to interested groups.
Mrs. C.Y. Linder, biology teacher and homemaker was appointed to the board in early 1981. Mrs. Linder brought valuable experience in gardening, conservation, historical preservation and nature studies.
The goal of the board was to establish a rustic, outdoor facility for picnicking, hiking and sightseeing. Construction started in 1973 with more than a mile of parkway built to provide access to the area. By November of that year when the park was dedicated the main features included roads, parking areas, pavilion, barbecue grills, the Murphree Log Cabin, a short trail and a playground area.
The first all-weather building was planned in 1981, which would include kitchen, restrooms, massive fireplace and several large windows for a view of the valleys. The new building would be named the Amilea Porter Center and dedicated to the former board member.
The development of Palisades Park has been through grant money, private contributions and support from the county commission and other groups and agencies. Individuals and organized groups have taken the responsibility for many projects in the park and through these cooperative efforts Palisades has become a success.
Daniel Murphree Log Cabin
The Murphree Cabin was built by Daniel Murphree six miles north of Oneonta in Murphree’s Valley and was presented to the Blount County Historical Society in January 1973 by John Roderick Sanders, present owner of the land on which it was built. The cabin was dismantled and moved to Palisades Park where it has been reassembled and restored as a Pioneer Cabin, a part of Blount County’s Heritage.
Daniel Murphree (1781-1851) – The son of Solomon Murphree for whom Murphree’s Valley is named. Daniel Murphree, born October 9, 1781 married Pheraby Bynum, September 16, 1802 died March 4, 1851. daniel came to Blount County in 1817. He built this cabin in 1820. After Pheraby’s death in 1873 it was sold to Asa R. Murphree. Asa sold it to Davis Hyatt in 1879. David gave it to his son James B. Hyatt for a wedding gift the same year. James died in 1890. His widow, Rebecca, died in 1894. Their daughter, Docia, a great grand daughter of Daniel Murphree sold the property to John R. Sanders in 1966. Mr. Sanders donated the cabin to the Blount County Historical Society in 1972. It was moved from Murphree’s Valley to Palisades Park in 1973.
Daniel Muphree’s children were Solomon, Jesse, James, Barzillia, Caleb, Patsy, Levi and William.
Blackwood Log Cabin
The Irish Heritage of the Blackwood family is like that of the Murphrees’ in contribution to the Blount County’s Heritage. According to the Blackwood family history compiled by the late Evangeline Blackwood in 1978, Jimmy Blackwood of full Irish parentage was brought from Ireland across the waters when he was six months old. His parents settled in North Carolina and reared a large family. They migrated from North Carolina to Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. Isaac was the son of Jimmy Blackwood and married Mary Jones and then came to Blount County, Alabama where they were parents of nine children.
The Compton School was built in 1904 in No. 8 Beat in Blount County by George and Will Wesson. A copy of the land deed was signed by eight or ten men. Land for the school was donated by Mr. Higginbotham for one dollar.
The first teachers were Lydia Cowden ( Joe Fowler’s mother), Ella and Judson McCay and Henry Hood. The last teacher was T.S. Edwards.
The building was 20 by 30 feet and was heated by a coal heater. A bell hung in the tower. In later years the building was used for a Northern Methodist Church. The Reverend Gus Burtram ( father of Pat) was pastor there at one time. An organ, pump and kerosene lamps were bought. This building was also used for a voting precinct headquarters and for a community center for Sand Valley and Red Valley. Floyd Smith bought the Compton School building and moved it to his home.
(This information was taken from the Retired Teachers School Records Book in the Blount County Memorial Museum.)
Mr. Smith gave the school building and many of its furnishings when it was moved to Palisades Park in the fall of 1989.