The Cornstalk Heights Historic District in Harriman, listed in the National Register of Historic Places for Roane County, includes homes built in the 1890s that were of "superior refinement and of abiding quality." Developed by the East Tennessee Land Company, Harriman was formerly opened on February 26, 1890 during the “Great Land Sale.”
People came from all over - by horse & wagon, train, riverboat, and foot. It was so successful that, unlike most towns and cities which grow gradually over a period of years with many stages of development, Harriman grew from an agricultural community of two farms to a city of nearly 4,000 residents in only two years.
Frederick Gates was part of the East Tennessee Land Company, and envisioned a town where “the belief in temperance could be commercialized for business profit and betterment of mankind.” Gates' elegant home which was named Cornstalk Heights later became the name for the entire historic residential area. His home sits at the eastern end and highest point, anchoring the district.
The East Tennessee Land Company was forced into bankruptcy following the Panic of 1893. But in spite of financial setbacks, panics, floods, The Depression, and more recently, the rush of modern life, these homes and most of their dreams have survived.
Visitors can take the self-guided walking tour anytime to view these magnificent homes. Select homes are open during the Historic Harriman Christmas Tour (2nd weekend in December) and during the Haunting of Harriman (2nd weekend in October) where you will hear "ghostly tales" from homeowners - if you dare!