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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal


Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2019 03:03 PM

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Brushy Mountain State Prison Opens Bringing Attention To Petros, TN

From the end of the line to new beginnings, the opening of Brushy Mountain State Prison as a tourist attraction is set to bring attention to a small Tennessee town.

Petros, a small town with just over 500 people, has a big problem: economics. The downtown, which doesn't have a stoplight, could see some big changes over the next few years, and that will be because of the former Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

Brushy Mountain was once a place where men did hard time; now, it's a place where anyone can enjoy themselves. There's moonshine tasting, shopping and a restaurant at the site of the former prison. No inmates, just happy customers.

The prison, which opened in 1896 and shut down in 2009, was sold from the state to Morgan County for a whole $10, and they lease it for a dollar a year to the Brushy Mountain Group.

Residents in Petros said this may just be the thing they need to jump start their town and generate some outside interest.

Right now, you can walk through the historic halls of the prison and grab some grub. The group said they plan to improve upon the new tourist attraction over time.

The rest of the prison is set to open on July 28 with a concert in the yard by Fairview Union and Robert Lee. For information about the official opening, visit the Brushy Mountain Group's website.