Top 4 Historic Places to Visit in the Smoky Mountains
Are you a history buff? Then you’ll have a great time visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! With a rich history of pioneers, loggers, and country people just trying to make a living, you’ll have so much to learn! And what better way to learn about the people that used to live in the area than to see some of their homes, vacation spots, and gathering places? That’s why we’re sharing the top 4 historic places to visit in the Smoky Mountains with you!
1. Cades Cove
If you ask fanatics of the Smokies where the best place to go to see the history of land is, they will probably tell you Cades Cove. They are definitely right! This little valley surrounded by mountains is dedicated to the history of the Smokies because the National Park Service maintains several historic buildings along the 11-mile loop road. You’ll see small cabins, farm houses, 3 churches, a still-working grist mill, a smokehouse, a corn crib, homesteads with barns, and so much more. Visitors are able to stop their vehicles and walk around and through the buildings of the area. If you want to learn even more about the people of Cades Cove, you can find all kinds of information at the Cades Cove Visitor Center!
2. Walker Sisters Cabin
Another historic place to visit in the Smoky Mountains is the Walker Sisters Cabin. The Walker family had 11 children, 7 girls and 4 boys. What makes their family unique is that only 1 daughter got married and moved away. The other 5 sisters continued to live on the family farm until each passed away. During their life, even through the establishment of the national park, they continued to live on the land. They even became a tourist attraction themselves, and the sisters ended up selling homemade and baked goods to make a living. The hike to get to their homestead is short, about 1.5 miles, and not only can you see their home, you’ll also see the springhouse and corn crib.
3. Elkmont Ghost Town
Elkmont is an area of the park that is rich with history. It started as a logging camp that quickly turned into a vacation destination for wealthy families from Knoxville. Right before the national park was established in 1910, the Little River Lumber Company began selling land to investors that built The Appalachian Club House. Visitors used the railroad from Knoxville to get to Elkmont for weekend getaways and summer vacations. There were dances, kids would explore the woods, and people loved spending time up here. When the park was established, many owners of cottages sold them in exchange for lifetime leases. In the 1990s, the last people left, and the clubhouses and vacation cottages were abandoned. The National Park Service planned on tearing down the buildings, but the National Register of Historic Places added this area of Elkmont to its registry, and it is now known as the Elkmont Ghost Town.
4. Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin
The Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin is a great place to visit in the Smoky Mountains if you love history. This home has been well preserved, and it’s pretty unique! There are several floor plans of cabins found throughout the national park and surrounding areas, but this cabin is one of the most rare, known as a saddlebag. It’s where two living quarters are connected by a fireplace, and you can even walk through a doorway to get to either side! The structure is incredible to see in person, and if you look to the left of the home, you’ll see the family’s barn. When you continue along the short self-guided trail, you’ll also spot the family’s mill that was powered by the creek!
Anyone who loves history won’t want to miss out on these places to visit in the Smoky Mountains. You’ll have a great time exploring the national park and learning more about the beautiful area. Until your next vacation with us when you can explore these areas in person, read up on the history of Gatlinburg!