4 Fascinating Historic Places in Gatlinburg TN and the Smokies
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a place that remembers its history. In fact, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are home to a number of well-preserved historic buildings that provide a window into what life was like in the 1800s and early 1900s. To help you make the most of your next vacation, The Appy Lodge has put together a guide to four fascinating historic places in Gatlinburg TN and the Smokies.
1. Historic Ogle Cabin
The Ogle Cabin was the very first log cabin ever built in Gatlinburg! The logs for the cabin were cut by William Ogle, who visited the Smoky Mountains around 1802. William called the Smokies “The Land of Paradise” and intended to bring his wife and children from South Carolina to East Tennessee to finish building the cabin. Sadly, William passed away a year later after returning to the Palmetto State.
Determined to make her late husband’s dream a reality, Martha Jane Ogle set out for the Smoky Mountains in 1807 with her brother, Peter Huskey, and her seven children. Together, they finished building the log cabin that William had started five years earlier. Visitors to Gatlinburg can still see the Ogle Cabin at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
2. Elkmont Ghost Town
The Elkmont Ghost Town is another one of the most popular historic places in Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains. Located within the national park, the Elkmont Historic District is filled with abandoned buildings from decades gone by.
First settled in the 1840s, Elkmont was originally a sleepy mountain community known as “Little River.” At the turn of the century, Little River became the site of a major logging operation in the Smokies, complete with its own railroad. Before long, wealthy residents of Knoxville started taking the train to Little River and transformed the area into a summer vacation community known as Elkmont.
When the national park was established, many property owners in Elkmont received lifetime leases for their cabins, which expired in 1992. Today, visitors to the Elkmont Ghost Town can see a variety of historic structures that reflect the area’s past as a rural community, logging site, and vacation destination.
3. Walker Sisters Place
Situated in the Little Greenbrier section of the national park, the Walker Sisters Place is a historic log cabin that belonged to some of the most colorful characters in the history of the Smokies. The Walker Sisters were five unmarried sisters who insisted on living traditional, agrarian lives in their family cabin, even after the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For decades, the Walker Sisters acted as quasi-ambassadors to the park, welcoming visitors to their home and selling homemade doilies, desserts, and even poems.
When the last of the Walker Sisters passed away in the 1960s, the National Park Service took over the cabin and decided to preserve the log home as a tribute to its famous residents. You can see the Walker Sisters Place along the Little Brier Gap Trail, which begins at Metcalf Bottoms. The hike to the cabin is around 2.6 miles roundtrip.
4. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is the most frequented section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, attracting over 2 million visitors each year. In addition to its beautiful scenery and spectacular wildlife, this gorgeous valley is famous for its historic buildings. Cades Cove was once home to a thriving pioneer community, but the residents of the valley were forced to leave their cabins after the establishment of the national park.
Visitors to Cades Cove will find a variety of historic structures, including log cabins, churches, barns, and a working gristmill. All of the valley’s landmarks are conveniently located along an 11-mile loop road, which makes Cades Cove ideal for auto touring.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
When you stay at The Appy Lodge, you will be near all of these historic places in Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains. Offering free parking, indoor and outdoor pools, complimentary breakfast, and walk-in showers, our hotel has everything you need for an incredible vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!