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Morgan Co. volunteers work to turn historic general store into destination for hikers

Over the last century, Tanner's has been a bank, a pharmacy, a general store and soon it will be a pitstop for hikers on the Cumberland Trail.

WARTBURG, Tenn. — In downtown Wartburg, Tanner's General Store might as well be the center of town. That's the way it used to feel, anyway. 

"Everybody remembers coming here to get ice cream. My family came on Sundays after church. That was always sort of the big treat, to go get an ice cream cone, and that sort of satisfied our hunger till mother could get the lunch ready,"  Marta Monroe said. 

Over the past century, the historic building has been a bank, a pharmacy, an ice cream parlor, and a general store before falling into disrepair. Volunteers with the Morgan County Tourism Alliance hope to restore it to its former glory. 

This time though, they hope the building will be a destination for hikers passing through on the Cumberland Trail. 

"We're concentrating on the outdoor enthusiasts that come to this area because we have two national parks here and two state parks, so we have a lot of people who come in. We want them to be able to stop here," Volunteer Pam Gunter said. 

The newly improved Tanner's will eventually have WIFI, a shower, a place for hikers to send and receive mail, and of course, ice cream.

To raise money for the project, Gunther said they're hosting monthly fundraising events called "Tanner's Take Out,' where people can stop by and pick up a hot lunch cooked by the owner of Gray Gables Bed & Breakfast in Rugby, Tenn.  

Credit: Morgan Co. Tourism Alliance
Marta Monroe remembers visiting Tanner's on Sunday to grab an ice cream after church.

"They like that because all of a sudden, they don't have to bring their lunch that day," Gunter said about the people who work at the courthouse and in downtown Wartburg. 

Gunter said they hope to have part of the building open later this spring and the community is excited for Tanner's to once again feel like the center of town and hopefully the center of the hiking community in Morgan County as well.  

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