Visit Historic RugbyPlan Your Visit
English author and social reformer Thomas Hughes founded Rugby in 1880 to promote cooperative enterprise in a classless society for British and American settlers. International publicity and the natural beauty surrounding Rugby attracted both tourists and colonists. Visitors today can tour the Hughes Public Library, the first free public library built in 1882 in the South with its original collection intact; the Kingstone Lisle, the Carpenter Gothic cottage built in 1884 for Hughes; and the Christ Church Episcopal built in 1887. A walking tour interprets 18 original or historic reconstructions, several of which offer self-catering lodging. Situated on promontories above two streams flowing into the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, Rugby is encircled by ten miles of hiking trails on state natural area and national park land. Special events, workshops, and guided hikes are scheduled throughout the year. A reconstruction of the original Rugby Commissary and two privately owned shops highlight the work of regional artists and crafters.
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