Tourism and Recreation

Historic Rugby

Rugby is a historic community located in the northern most part of Morgan County. On the fringe of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, Rugby was founded in 1880 by English Author and social reformer Thomas Hughes. Rugby was built as an experimental utopian colony. It began as a community for the younger sons of the English gentry. Hughes envisioned his new community as a place where those who wished could build a strong agricultural community through cooperative enterprise while maintaining a cultured Christian lifestyle free of the rigid class distinctions that prevailed in England.

The community was named for Rugby Warwickshire, England where Hughes had attended Rugby School. The community initially thrived and by 1884 there were 65 buildings and almost 400 residents.

A typhoid epidemic-- which claimed seven lives, financial troubles, land title problems and unusually severe winters gradually brought about Rugby's decline. By 1900 many of the original colonists had left. Although the colony declined, Rugby was never deserted. In the 1960's the residents of the community began a restoration program. Rugby's architecture and beautiful Cumberland Plateau setting would make it a popular tourist attraction. In 1972 Rugby's historic area was listed on the register of historic places.

Today, Rugby thrives as a regional tourist attraction with some 65,000 visitors annually. Several of the buildings are open for daily tours. There is also a commissary (now a general store and gift shop) and the re-constructed Harrow Road Café with its wonderful Applachain/British cuisine. Rugby also is home to Newberry House a Victorian style bed and breakfast.

In May, Rugby conducts an annual festival of British and Appalachian Culture. Rugby also offers 20 annual workshops on crafts and arts related to the history of Rugby. Come experience for yourself - the many treasures of Historic Rugby. For more information about Rugby visit the web page.