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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Myth 1 -
Gatlinburg TN is not for everyone of all ages...it's
only for families.
Truth - Gatlinburg is ideal for everyone of all ages. There
are attractions available for everyone. Thousands of couples
honeymoon or celebrate anniversaries here in Gatlinburg. The
downtown strip is full of life all year which most teens and
young adults enjoy. Gatlinburg is host to several family
oriented parades and activities every year. Also, Gatlinburg
has a unique
Myth 2 - All Gatlinburg cabins were
Truth - Not even close. Do your research. Ask questions.
Don't be afraid of deals and don't be afraid of spending
some money (if the cabin warrants the cost). Depending on
amenities and locations cabin prices should have varying
degrees of cost.
Myth 3 - Can you believe it? We
are going to get tons of snow because we are in the
Truth - Oh, how I wish this statement was true.
Gatlinburg does receive some annual snow. On a few occasions
Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas will receive a few
inches of snow (mainly ice). If you would like more
information about weather please visit
Myth 4 - No Ski Resort in Gatlinburg.
Truth - Despite the fact there is not much snow in
Gatlinburg, some of the higher elevations around Gatlinburg
have a little bit more. Ober Gatlinburg is located at
traffic light 10. To help offset the lack of snow, Ober
Gatlinburg will start making snow.