Monteagle, first called Moffat Station, was founded by John Moffat, an organizer in the temperance movement. In 1870 Moffat purchased the 1,146 acres of forest land on the Cumberland Plateau that became Monteagle. In 1882 the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly incorporated to promote the “advancement of science, literary attainment, Sunday school interest and promotion of the broadest popular culture in the interest of Christianity without regard to sect or denomination.” Andrew Nelson Lytle, the Vanderbilt Agrarian, did much of his writing at Monteagle, including his biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Monteagle is a town in Franklin, Grundy and Marion counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee, in the Cumberland Plateau region of the southeastern part of the state. The population was 1,238 at the 2000 census – 804 of the town’s 1,238 residents (64.9%) lived in Grundy County, 428 (34.6%) in Marion County, and 6 (0.5%) in Franklin County.
Monteagle is most famous for the treacherous stretch of Interstate 24 that passes through the town. It is here that the highway passes over what is colloquially referred to as “The Monteagle” or “Monteagle Mountain “, a section of the southern Cumberland Plateau which is a major landmark on the road between Chattanooga and Nashville . The interstate regularly shuts down in inclement weather, routing traffic onto U.S. Highway 41 . In the Jerry Reed song “The Legend”, which is the opening track in the film Smokey and the Bandit , Reed tells the story of the Bandit miraculously surviving brake failure on the “Monteagle Grade.” There is also a song called “Monteagle Mountain” by Johnny Cash on the album Boom Chicka Boom .
The town is home to the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly . The Highlander Folk School , long involved in the labor and civil rights movements, was located here from 1932 to 1961. Rosa Parks attended workshops there shortly before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.