BYRDSTOWN – Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park has a new manager, and it’s a familiar face to the UC.
Monique Johnson Hodge, a ranger with Tennessee State Parks for over 13 years, including Pickett CCC Memorial State Park, will be welcomed during a public “Meet the Manager” event at 1 p.m. Friday, May 5. Officials say it’s an opportunity for the community to meet park staff and learn about the park’s recreational and cultural opportunities.
“Monique’s efforts are already bringing a new energy and direction to the park,” Christopher Padgett, Middle Tennessee Parks Area Manager, said. “We hope visitors will come out on May 5 and this spring and summer to benefit from all this park has to offer.”
Hodge has served as a Ranger at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, Johnsonville State Park, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Warriors’ Path State Park and Pickett CCC.
While a ranger at Pickett, she was instrumental in helping the park achieve International Dark Sky Park designation for its astronomical viewing opportunities. Hodge has most recently been serving at Cordell Hull as interim manager, where she instituted new historical and cultural programs, including a speaker series and improvements to on-site historic structures.
“Our Friends Group is excited to partner with a manager like Monique,” said Cordell Hull State Park Friends Group President Brian Raef. “Her ‘can do’ nature is a huge benefit to our park and community. Her programs and events offer something for everyone.”
Cordell Hull, a 58-acre historic park, is located at 1300 Cordell Hull Memorial Drive in Byrdstown; it’s the namesake of Cordell Hull, a lawyer, politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner. The park includes a representation of Hull’s log cabin birthplace and period gardens; the Cordell Hull Museum, which displays a variety of photographs and artifacts; and an activities center. The park also includes the Hull Library and Archives that houses the entire Cordell Hull Collection consisting of more than 1,500 books and hundreds of original photographs, documents and three-dimensional objects. The collection includes a replica of his Nobel Peace Prize. The park also features the Bunkum Cave Loop Trail that leads to an overlook and the actual entrance to historic Bunkum Cave where Cordell Hull’s father made moonshine in the 19th century.
Refreshments will be available during the “Meet the Manager” event thanks to the Friends of Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park. For more information, call (931) 864-3247.