Gatlinburg TN is filled with rich history, a unique past and a promising future. The resort town is continuing to blossom as a popular cabin destination in United States.
Alfred Reagan Home
The Alfred Reagan homestead is larger than most of the homesteads from his time. He had fancier paint, building materials and styling than most homes had. He made furniture, coffins, owned a store and sometimes preached at a church that was built on his land. Today his home and a restored mill are available for your viewing.
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts
Established in 1945 as a summer program, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has grown as a full year program for college. Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts uses the elementary and high school buildings on the old Pi Beta Phi grounds as workshops, studios and classes.
The Arrowcraft Shop is a store located on the Arrowmont School campus. It displays and sells rustic, handmade items such as baskets, quilts, fabric, furniture, etc made by the people in the surrounding community. The opening of this store, back in 1915 encouraged the mountain people to build and decorate things of the lives for to sale. This brought on a movement known as “cottage craft industries”. Since that movement Gatlinburg and the surrounding cities have become known as craft centers.
Cardwell Mill and Manufacturing
The “Do Little Factory”, as it was once called, was built after the Civil War where the Terrace Motel is now. This was Gatlinburg’s first manufacturing companies from the 1930’s. They grinded rye, wheat and corn and made coffins and furniture. An interesting story of this manufacturing company is once a flood washed several of the coffins downtown that had been thrown out. The townsfolk thought that the coffins had been washed up and all the bodies were missing.
Located in an area called “Bullhead” at the peak of Mount Le Conte the Cherokee Orchard around 1033. The orchard was 796 acres and owned by two brothers. There were 6800 apple trees and around 47 varieties. Some of the foliage that can/could also be found at the Cherokee orchard includes azaleas, hemlocks, boxwood trees, andromeda and several other kinds of trees and flowers. Now the area has been overgrown with weeds, trees and forest. Tourists can occasionally find old apple trees with apples still being produced on them.
The Civil War in Gatlinburg
Most people in Gatlinburg tried to stay out of the war. The only time Gatlinburg TN became involved was in 1863 when Confederate forces were patrolling the areas around Mount LeConte. A fort was built to protect the Confederates from the Union at what is now traffic light 3 in Gatlinburg. Groups camped at the Little Pigeon River which is just outside the city. The Union overtook the Confederates and ran them out of town. They left everything behind and most was burned by the Federal troops. They did leave food and some shelters for the hungry locals to eat. The shelters were eventually burned down.
The First Clinic
Known as the "Watson House" this is believed to be Gatlinburg's first clinic. It was built in 1910 by Andrew Ogle. This building was the community hospital and the school to train others in health and hygiene care. Sometimes doctors from Knoxville would journey to this building to provide their services. The most noted nurses Phyllis Higgenbotham and Marjorie Chalmers who treated patients at the clinic and their homes.
Forks of the River Community "Sugarlands"
The Sugarlands is the area around the park center, headquarters, building and all areas around the mountains. It was name "Sugarlands" due to the sugar maple trees. It was the Forks of the River due to the location of the Fighting Creek and Little Pigeon River. The families that lived around there were all self sufficient. Earning and making their living, built their own church, school, mill, stores and post office.
Aerial Tramway at Ober Gatlinburg
When the Ski Resort was built in the 1960's the only way for tourists to get up there was to climb the mountain. The idea for the Aerial Tramway came up so that the tourists would have a safer and quicker way to get to the resort. In September 1972 the Tramway was put into motion. It was constructed by Von Roll Ltd. It traveled 17 mph and made the over 2 mile trip up the mountain a 2 minute ride. There are 2 trams. Both have a 120 passenger maximum and is electrically powered but has a diesel backup.
Gatlinburg Inn is the city's third major hotel. It was constructed by R.L. Maples SR. and his wife Wilma between 1937-40. The city offices and first bank were operated in the building during it's earlier years. This Inn has had many visitors including "Lady Bird" Johnson, Liberace, Ernie Ford and even appeared in the movie "A Walk in Spring Rain". The Tennessee Anthem was even written in one of the rooms of this Inn.
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
The 8.5 mile loop that is now known as the Arts and Crafts Community was established in 1937. This loop is officially part of the Tennessee Heritage Arts and Crafts Trail. This loop is a scenic and beautiful trail that allows you to see the natural beauty of Gatlinburg. Most of the independent artists and crafters who sculpt, create, paint, and sew live in this area. They show the skills of the Gatlinburg people. There are 80+ shops around the loop available for you to look around in.
John H. Reagan Historical Marker
Known as Gatlinburg's famous son, this former US senator made most of the nation's basic laws of interstate commerce. John H. Reagan was born in 1808 near his memorial plaque. He started working at 16 and got further education in Sevierville. In 1838 he moved to Texas and worked as a surveyor, lawyer, judge and state representative. He was a Postmaster General of the Confederacy Imprisonment and even had his picture on currency.
Originally named Mill Creek due to the numerous grist mills, Le Conte Creek flows around the Ober Gatlinburg and Pigeon River on the northwest side of the Parkway. In earlier years the grist mills were powered by it's water at the last 3.5 miles. Some say there were at least 25 mills along this river at one point in time.
Little Pigeon River
Named after the Passenger Pigeons that frequented this area. You can walk along this stream and see many animals native to this area, in the water and on land. James Bohannon is the first to have died by drowning in this river. He was carrying maple sugar across a log and fell in. His body was discovered some ways down stream.
Louis Vorhees Home
The area used to be the property of Louis Vorhees. He was an entrepreneur from Cincinnati. He purchased 100 acres and built a large and expensive home, two guest houses, gardens, and gradually expanded his farms to 300 acres. He donated his land and estate to the National Park Service. In 1950 the land officially became the Park's. The main house became the park office and the other buildings are for the staff. The other buildings and grounds are for the scientific research done by the park.
The jewel of the Smokies rising miles above Gatlinburg. Mt. Le Conte is 6,593 feet above sea level and is the highest peak in the East. You could view the three peaks of Mt. Le Conte from Gatlinburg or the Cumberland Plateau. There are hiking trails to it's summit. Pal Adams established a camping 1925 and in 1926 Jack Huff started building the Mt. Le Conte Lodge. It still stands there today and shelters many hikers as they go on day journeys on Mt. Le Conte.
Ogle's Broom Shop
This cabin is around 135 years old. Lee Ogle built his home in 1935 and made the cabin his broom shop. Ogle grew up in eastern Tennessee and learned how to make brooms. He made the brooms from straw, seeds, leaves, and bark. Today the third generation of broom makers still use this cabin as their broom shop.
Known as Gatlinburg's first home. Williams Ogle built this cabin in 1802. He started building it with his own hands from logs around the area. He said this cabin was in the "Land of Paradise". He died in 1803 before the cabin was completed. His wife, their children and her brother and his family found this cabin by William's directions and finished it up and settled in. This cabin was later used as a hospital, museum, and church in it's later years.
Noah Ogle was the first merchant in Gatlinburg. He set up shop in a store near the Riverside Hotel. It was passed down in generations and housed a post office at one point in time. The family expanded and turned the store into a general store where you could find anything you could need. The store was torn down in the 1970's to make room for the Mountain Mall.
This was Gatlinburg's second hotel. It started off being a 20 room boarding house facing the Little Pigeon River. It is still in operation and is the longest operating hotel in Gatlinburg. You could stay there for $35 a month including meals when it first opened. It was soon extended to 40 bedrooms and faced the Parkway.
Father and son John and Everett Kircher came up with the idea of the Gatlinburg Skylift. It was conceived in 1950 for tourists who wanted to be carried to and from an observation point. A lease was acquired in 1953 and the Skylift was built. It goes from the Parkway to the top point in Crockett Mountain. A total of 518 feet above the city, you can get a great view of Gatlinburg. This was one of the first major sightseeing attractions in Gatlinburg.
This monument is to honor the Cherokee Indian Tsali (Solly). According to legend he gave up his life so that his tribe could remain in the Smokies. Eventually his tribe was moved westward along with other tribes to an area in Oklahoma. Many citizens have Cherokee ancestry and have a connection with the story of Tsali. The monument was built in 1939 by the school children in Knoxville on the 100th anniversary of his death.
Wiley Oakley Story
Wiley Oakley operated a popular store along the Parkway. He was one of the most celebrated people in Gatlinburg. He entertained tourists and locals with legends and stories and music. He was named the "Will Rogers of the Smokies" due to his comic stories. He was friends with John D. Rockefeller, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford and many other people of high status at that time. He had 12 children with his wife Rebecca Ann Ogle Oakley.