5 Interesting Facts About the History of Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a small town surrounded by the Smoky Mountains that is rich in history. When you stay at our Gatlinburg hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about it, from the Ogle family to the Appalachian Trail. Here are some interesting facts about the history of Gatlinburg for you to learn:
1. The Appy Lodge and The History of Gatlinburg
If it wasn’t for the history of Gatlinburg and its connection to the owner of our hotel, David Ogle, The Appy Lodge may have never been built. 200 years ago David’s ancestor William Ogle ventured into the area and fell in love with the beauty of the Smokies. He returned home and told his wife Martha that he wanted to move his family to “The Land of Paradise” and start a new life. Unfortunately, William passed away before he was able to see that dream come true. To honor his wishes, Martha Ogle packed up their seven children and moved to the hills of Tennessee. The first home to ever be built in Gatlinburg belonged to Martha and her family. The cabin still sits within walking distance of our hotel. Two centuries after the Ogle family slept for the first time in their new home within the Smoky Mountains, The Appy Lodge was built on a foundation of deep appreciation for their journey, the Smokies and the Appalachian Trail.
2. Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg is located in a tucked away corner of the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is currently the most visited national park in America. The Smokies popularity makes Gatlinburg one of the top areas for tourism on the eastern United States. However, before the park was assembled the area was filled with loggers, settlers, and small mountain communities. Many people from other areas had never even heard of the area until it was decided that the mountains would need to be declared a national treasure, and protected for future generations. Author Horace Kephart began writing about his experiences in the hills and valleys, using his words to capture the hearts of many. At the same time, photographers George Masa and Jim Thompson produced the visuals that would be needed to convince a country to finalize the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was during that time when visitors not only fell in love with the splendor of the mountains but also the charm of the culture found in Gatlinburg. The rest, as they say, is history.
3. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is located in downtown Gatlinburg and has been in the city since 1912. The school sits on the original site of Martha Ogle’s farm and homeplace. The cabin that belonged to the Ogle’s served for a while as a hospital as well as a museum that was put together by staff at Arrowmont. The school was first established to help provide an education to the local mountain community. The first medical clinic of Gatlinburg was also located on the property at one time. Today, you’ll find the oasis of creativity, culture and history behind Anakeesta. During your stay with us, take time to visit! You’ll find workshops, art exhibitions, Gatlinburg’s only full-service art supply store and more.
4. Roaring Fork Historic District
Within less than 10 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg’s city streets, you’ll find the Roaring Fork Historic District. The stunning and tranquil area is home to endless history and one of the favorite scenic drives among our guests, The Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This section of the Smokies was once a mountain community but is now part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Farms, a school, a mill, church, and general store were once located in Roaring Fork. Multiple structures and homeplaces remain and are open for exploring during your visit to Gatlinburg.
5. The Appalachian Trail
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formally dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940 at Newfound Gap. However, the park was authorized to complete public facilities in 1934 for 300,000 acres of what would become a 500,000-acre national park. Newfound Gap is also one of the top places for guests at our Gatlinburg hotel to access the Appalachian Trail. From time to time, you’ll also find Appalachian Trail thru-hikers catching a ride into Gatlinburg to rest and resupply. The Appalachian Trail is a footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine, passing through the Smokies. The trail was completed in 1937 and has been a deeply loved gem since. Take a trip through the history of the Appalachian Trail while staying at our hotel and then hit the trail for your own adventure!
Are you ready to explore the Appalachian Trail and the history of Gatlinburg firsthand? Book a stay with us! We look forward to seeing you!