Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Historic Elkmont Part 1

One hundred years ago the logging community of Elkmont in the Smoky Mountains became a vacation resort for the elite from Knoxville. Lured by hunting and fishing opportunities, the Appalachian Clubhouse was established and the Wonderland Hotel was constructed in this beautiful valley.
Plots were sold and the wealthy built cottages and cabins along the scenic Little River and Jakes Creek aka Millionaire's Row,Society Hill and Daisy Town.
The Little River Railroad offered non-stop train service from Knoxville to Elkmont on a daily basis.
In 1934 when the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was formed, the owners of these cottages were given a cash settlement or a life lease after which the cottages would be removed and the area restored to it's natural habitat. All but two leases expired in 1992 and many of the structures have deteriorated over the years, many beyond repair and the hotel collapsed in 2005.
In 1994 Elkmont was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, saving the cottages from destruction.
In recent years a debate has ensued over the fate of these structures. Some wanted them all removed, others wanted them restored. In 2009 the National Park Service decided to restore 19 of the 74 buildings.
We had hiked in this area previously and noticed a few of the cottages, especially those along the Little River Trail and wondered about them. I did some research and found out many of them are slated for removal so last year we decided to go back and get some pictures before they are torn down. We found many cabins along Jakes Creek we had not seen previously. I don't know which ones are being kept and which ones are being removed.  It's sad to see so many being torn down.  I feel this is part of the history of the Park just like Cades Cove is, just a later time frame.

I don't know all the names to these cabins and I'm not sure in which area they were but I think this one was on Millionaire's Row. There is something about this rustic cottage that really appeals to me.

 I only got a few pictures in this area and I'm saving the best one for last. It will get it's own post.
 Weeds have taken over around some of the cottages and I wasn't going to risk getting poison ivy so I only took pictures where we could easily get to.

I love these moss covered rock walls. Must have been built well to still be standing after all these years. 

The Little River....Wouldn't it be nice to have this behind your house? I can imagine kids spending their summers playing and fishing in these streams.

A little trailside waterfall on the Little River Trail.

If I remember correctly the rest of these cottages are on Society Hill except for the last one.

A few roses still bloom among the overgrown weeds. Someone probably had a beautiful garden here at one time.

The Jeffords Cabin

The W.Arnett Cabin. This was one of the nicer ones on Society Hill. Will it stay or go?? Hope this one stays.

The Levi Trentham log cabin. This cabin originally was located on up Jakes Creek and was moved here in 1932 to be used as a guest house. By the looks of this I would say this one is being restored.

The Cain Cabin

This was a children's playhouse built in 1921 known as "Adamless Eden." I'm sure there's a story behind that name. Perhaps "no boys allowed?"

The Sneed Cabin. This one looked like some work was being done on it so I assume it's staying.

The Higdon Cabin

I wish I had a photo of the Appalachian Club House. I'm not sure why I didn't get one. I vaguely remember seeing a lot of equipment around that area and restoration had begun on it. I think there might have been chain link fence around it and we just couldn't get close enough, but to date that building has been completed.Appalachian Clubhouse photo from the Mountain Press.
To be continued.


  1. Such a beautiful area, Pearl! Those moss covered rocks are so full of character, along with all those wonderful cabins.

  2. Great post---and it brought back so many memories to me.. First hubby and I used to camp and/or picnic at Elkmont.. That was years ago when all of the cabins were still there and lived in...

    Now--it's sad to walk up in that area. However, I love walking (you can't drive up that road now) up that little road following the Little River up the mountain. The waterfall you showed is named Huskey Branch Falls.

    When my oldest son (who is now 48 yrs. old) was very young, we camped at Elkmont. The weather turned bitter cold and Bert was in his heavy snowsuit.. That suit was so heavy that Bert couldn't move his legs in it.. He looked so funny---but he was the only one of us who was warm!!!! ha