American Revolutionary veteran Henry Sharp settled in the area on a 700-acres given as a land grant. Also established in 1780's was Sharp Station, a fort overlooking the Clinch River, now located along the shores of Big Ridge State Park. A post office was established in the area in 1866 and has operated continuously since that time. Initially the post office was called "Clinch River," but in 1869, the name was changed to Sharps Chapel. The Sharps Chapel peninsula is bounded to the north by the Powell and to the south by the Clinch River. Visitors will get a sense of the the original settlers' lives as they drive pass tiny agrarian communities each with a school, store, church and cemetery. Other points of interest include a mine, the location of a TVA CCC camp, and Helm's Ferry which is the only the connector between the community of Braden and the rest of Union County.
The Sharp Ousley house located in Sharps Chapel has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1978 and is being restored. Other historic buildings include the Dr. Davis store and office, Rush Strong School, Irwin Chapel, and Irwin School.