Welcome to Wolf Gap. Its history begins with a legend about a white wolf and revolves around telling stories about the past and educating new generations. Let the green landscape surround you, listen to the sounds of the creek, watch the birds, and breathe in the fresh air. If you’d like to learn about history while walking the trails, enjoying scenic nature, and having a picnic, take a trip to Giles County, Tennessee, and visit the Wolf Gap. Wolf Gap features an education center and two historic log cabins in a natural setting of 50 acres, with walking trails and picnic areas.
“Wolf Gap is in a beautiful scenic valley, with plenty of land to explore and enjoy our natural beauty,” said Kelly Hamlin, Wolf Gap's founder and executive director.
Hamlin founded Wolf Gap in 2015 as a nonprofit organization.
“Our original work focused on making hands-on history education available to local classrooms through field trips and in-school outreach programs,” Hamlin said. “If teachers in our community wanted to arrange a field trip for their history or science classes, they generally had to travel all the way to Nashville or Huntsville. That distance – and the time and money involved – meant that many local students were missing out on the opportunity to connect their classroom learning with a field trip experience. Wolf Gap was founded to try to meet that need, bringing engaging hands-on history programs into local schools at no cost, and hosting memorable field trips at our site in southern Giles County.”
The origins of Wolf Gap’s name go back many decades ago.
“Wolf Gap is named after a historic place, a gap in the high ridge between two hills,” Hamlin said. “An old wagon road known as the Wolf Gap Road passed through that gap. Before the Civil War, there were several white-owned farms on the Wolf Gap Road, but after the Civil War, much of the property was owned and farmed by formerly enslaved people, who were part of the community known as Wolf Gap and Center Point. There is a legend that a white wolf lived in the Wolf Gap and would chase your hunting dogs out if you went hunting back there. I have heard that tale from several old-timers.”
Over the last years, Wolf Gap has grown to serve as a community history and nature center, while keeping its roots in school programs, said Hamlin.
“We still anchor everything we do in our desire to fill gaps in our community and provide southern-middle Tennesseans with something they won't find elsewhere in their communities,” said Hamlin. “One of the ways we do this is with our day camp scholarship program, through which 50% of our spring and summer campers attend at no cost to their families thanks to the generosity of local donors.”
Exploring and spotlighting historic events is at the center of Wolf Gap’s mission.
“We are also passionate about researching and highlighting histories that haven't gotten the attention they deserve,” Hamlin said. “With the support of a SHARP grant from Humanities Tennessee, we are working to connect with descendants of the historic African American Center Point community, which was located near Wolf Gap from the 1870s through the 1950s. Center Point descendants are helping us by contributing photos and family stories to our Stories of Center Point exhibit, as well as guiding decisions about how to best commemorate and preserve what remains of historic Center Point. Work like this is my favorite part of being involved.”
It's very satisfying “when Wolf Gap can use our resources to research, preserve, share, and shine a light on untold histories in Giles County,” said Hamlin.
Currently, in addition to displaying the Stories of Center Point exhibit, visitors can enjoy the Quilting Our Heritage display.
Quilting Our Heritage is a collection of quilts telling the stories of historical African American churches. The Heritage Quilting Club created the four quilts to celebrate the rich African American history of the area. Wolf Gap is displaying two quilts at a time, rotating the quilts every few months.
Hamlin invites you to visit Wolf Gap, explore history and connect with nature.
“Visitors to Wolf Gap can enjoy our 1.5 miles of walking trails and our picnic areas,” Hamlin said. “Our 50-acre property is divided by a lovely creek, with picnic tables nearby, and is ideal for an easy stroll. Leashed dogs are welcome, too. The grounds are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to dusk. On weekends, visitors can enjoy the education center – on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Spaces in the education center are also available for rental for private events.”