2016 Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Quarter
Thirty-Second in the America the Beautiful Quarters Collection
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky
is featured on the second of five America the Beautiful Quarters issued in 2016.
The coin is also the thirty-second in the overall collection; the series
started in 2010 and coins are issued at the rate of five per year.
The region now
preserved as Cumberland Gap National Historical Park played a key role in
America’s early history. The centerpiece is Cumberland Gap, an opening in the
Appalachian Mountains that was used for centuries by Native Americans and
wildlife as a shortcut over the mountains.
times, Cumberland Gap provided the only practical route from Virginia to what
was then known as the American West. The route was made easier to traverse when
frontiersman Daniel Boone cleared the Wilderness Road in 1775, and
more than 300,000 pioneers used the Cumberland Gap between 1775 and 1810
to start new lives in the western frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee.
National Historical Park is about 26 miles long and includes portions of
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia where the three states meet. The most popular
locations include White Rocks Overlook and
Pinnacle Overlook that provide panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
The park is also renowned for many miles of limestone caves, the most famous of
which is Gap Cave. Wildlife, including black bears, is abundant, and many
visitors enjoy exploring more than 80 miles of hiking trails.
The design of
the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Quarter features a
frontiersman armed with a long rifle (also known as a Kentucky rifle) as he
crosses west through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Mountain scenery
can be seen in the background, and the inscription identifies Cumberland Gap as
the “First Doorway to the West.”
Mint artists submitted five suggested designs to the advisory committees that
review all U.S. coin designs. In addition to the selected design, one showed a
modern visitor at Pinnacle Overlook
with a majestic landscape in the background; another featured Indian Rock, a
landmark for travelers but also a place where they were vulnerable to attack
from Native Americans; the third design included a white-tailed deer in the
foreground with Cumberland Gap in the background; the final design was footprints on a path to symbolize Cumberland Gap as the
first doorway to the West.
This is the Philadelphia minted in GOLD PLATED uncirculated quarter