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Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

Oliver Springs (TN), 37840, United States

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Description Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary last named Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex was a large maximum-security prison near the town of Petros in Morgan County, Tennessee, operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction. It was established in 1896 and operated until 2009. The grounds of the prison are now included in part of the Barkley Marathons.HistoryBrushy Mountain State Penitentiary opened in 1896 in the aftermath of the Coal Creek War, an 1891 lockout of coal miners that took place in Coal Creek and Briceville, Tennessee, after miners protested the use of unpaid convict leasing in the mines. This labor conflict was eventually resolved in favor of the coal miners, with a bill passing the Tennessee state legislature to abolish the convict labor system, to be replaced by the Brushy Mountain Mine and Prison. The mountainous, secure site was located with the help of consulting geologists, and Brushy Mountain convicts built a railroad spur, worked the coal mines on site, operated coke ovens, or farmed. At the end of all the state's convict lease arrangements on January 1, 1896, some 210 of those prisoners became the first inmates of Brushy Mountain.