Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cades Cove Tour Part 1

Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains is a 4000 acre valley surrounded by mountains and has become the most popular destination for visitors in the park, attracting over two million visitors a year.
I can't begin to describe the beauty in Cades Cove. It is my all time favorite place in the Smoky Mountains!
Wildlife is abundant with plenty of white-tailed deer, black bear, turkeys and coyote roaming the open fields and forested mountains of the cove.
It is believed the cove was named after an Indian leader known as Chief Cade. The first Europeans settled in the cove around 1818 with John Oliver being the first settler.
Population in the cove peaked at 685 by 1850. With the soil growing tired, and new states opening in the west, many families moved out in search of more fertile frontiers. By 1860 only 269 people remained. Slowly the numbers rose to about 500 just before the park was established in the late 1920s.
Today the cove has been preserved to look much like it did in the 1800s with some of the original homesteads, churches and farmland depicting the pioneer way of life. An 11 mile loop road winds it's way around the cove with opportunities to stop and visit the preserved homesteads and has been referred to as an open-air museum. To really experience the cove, don't just drive through but get out of your car and go exploring.

The John Oliver Place
About one mile into the loop is the first settler John and Lurany Oliver's cabin.  Oliver's original cabin stood 50 yards behind this cabin which was built for his son.

Primitive Baptist Church
This church located at 2.5 miles into the cove was organized in 1827 and met in a log building until 1887 when this white frame church was built. Many people by-pass this church because it's location is set off of the main road a little way. It is so quiet and peaceful and it's in such a picturesque setting. It's worth the little side trip to see it.

Methodist Church

Back on the main loop road the next stop is the Methodist Church. This church was organized in 1820 and also met in a log structure until 1902. J.D. McCampbell a blacksmith and carpenter, built this church in 115 days for $115.00. He later served as the preacher of the church.

Missionary Baptist Church

This church was formed in 1839 by members of the Primitive Baptist Church who were dismissed because they favored supporting missionary work. This building dates from 1894.

John Cable Mill

Located half-way around the loop road is the visitors center and the historic Cable Mill area. This is probably the most popular stop on the Cades Cove tour. Mills powered by a waterwheel were an important feature in the community because it could grind corn much faster than tub mills. This mill is still in operation April-October.

Gregg-Cable House
Built in 1879 by Leason Gregg, this house served it's owners as a store, boarding house and private residence and may have been the first framed house in Cades Cove. Various buildings have been moved from elsewhere in the cove and placed here including the Cane Mill seen on the right and the Molasses Furnace on the left in the photo above.

Corn Crib

Gregg-Cable Barn

Henry Whitehead Place
When Matilda Shields Gregory was deserted by her husband, her family quickly built her a small cabin to give her shelter. Given the haste with which it was built, the cabin was one of the roughest in the cove with rough-hewn logs and a rubble stone chimney.

 When Matilda got remarried to Whitehead, he built her one of the nicest cabins in the cove directly in front of the original one. Their new home had square-sawn logs and a brick chimney, rare for the Smokies. In those days if you wanted bricks you had to make them yourself.

This pair of dwellings represents the roughest and the finest log construction in the Smokies.

Dan Lawson Place
Dan Lawson was an influential citizen of the cove and considered to be the wealthiest resident. He was a postmaster and served as Justice of the Peace. He acquired a lot of properties and owned more land than anyone else in the cove. This cabin was built around 1856 and had also one of the few brick chimneys for that time.

The Tipton Place
"Hamp" Tipton had this house built a few years after the Civil War.

Across the road from the Tipton Place is a Cantilever Barn, once a common site in the Smokies. The overhang allowed protection for outside animals and equipment. This one is a replica built in 1968.

Carter Shields Cabin
This is the last stop on the loop and was home to George Washington "Carter" Shields. Nestled in a little cove surrounded by dogwoods makes this one of the prettiest settings in the cove.

To be continued.
 In part 2 I will focus on the scenic side of the cove.


  1. Very cool photos. Love the old homes. Thanks for the tour.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Had such fun exploring all those places last Sept. I'm ready to go again.

  3. Just perfect, Pearl...Were you there recently --or were these taken some time ago? We haven't been there in a few months ---but hopefully are going back soon. LOVE that place...

    Have you ever been over to Cataloochie Valley? It's a little like Cades Cove --but much more rustic... Gorgeous setting over there though. It's not far from Maggie Valley.


  4. Carolyn...I'm always ready. We all need to go at the same time sometime. What fun that would be! It's been almost 2 years for us.

    Betsy...These were taken on other trips we've taken but we are going later this year. Yes we have been to Cataloochee twice. Very nice area, but it's such a long drive from where we like to stay:(
    I do plan on going back sometime.

  5. The photos are amazing.No wonder its a place you love, I would too.

  6. We got to tour Cades Cove this past Tuesday morning and we did see lots of deer, turkeys, 2 wolves. We saw a bear about 3 miles before entering the Cove.It is also a favorite of ours!

  7. I thought of you last week Leona. I am missing that place so much:(