History Highlight: The Ogle Family

One of the most popular drives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a six-mile paved road that gives visitors a chance to view 100-year-old cabins, barns, and homesteads in the Smokies. One of these homesteads—the Noah “Bud” Ogle Place—consists of a cabin, barn, and tub mill built by a mountain farmer named Noah “Bud” Ogle (1863¬–1913) in the late 19th century. His tub mill continues to grind, using water from the LeConte Creek. It is one of only a few left in existence.

Who Are the Ogles?
Noah was a later member of the Ogle family, who were the first Euro-American settlers in the Gatlinburg area. His great-grandparents, William Ogle (1756–1803) and his wife, Martha Huskey (1756–1826) arrived in Gatlinburg in the early 19th century. Their cabin still stands in downtown Gatlinburg on the campus of the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. William Ogle was born in New Castle County, Delaware, but left the northeast for the “land of paradise” he found down South. That land was Gatlinburg. Around 1802, William selected the site where he would build their home in Gatlinburg. He cut the logs and returned home to South Carolina to gather his family. But instead of traveling back to East Tennessee, he tragically fell ill and died in 1803. William is still remembered for building the first settler structure in Gatlinburg.

The Ogle Cabin
In 1807, William’s wife, Martha, moved with their children—five sons and two daughters—as well as her brother, Peter Huskey, and his family to the Great Smoky Mountains. They wanted to honor the wish of her deceased husband and settle amidst the beauty of the paradise he had hoped they would enjoy together.

In the Smokies, they found William’s logs and completed the cabin he never got to finish. They began their new life together, and members of the Ogle family lived in the cabin until 1910. William and Martha’s great-grandson Andrew Ogle and his family were the last to live in the cabin.

In 1921, the Ogle farm was sold to Pi Beta Phi, who used the cabin as a hospital. From 1922 to 1926, the cabin was used as a museum, housing mountain artifacts. Later, the cabin was moved from its original site to the former site of the community’s first church building. This is the location where you can visit the Ogle cabin today.

The Ogle Store
Noah Ogle, whose home can be visited at the beginning of the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, was also Gatlinburg’s first merchant of record. He established his store in 1850 on the site that later became the Riversite Hotel. In 1910, he moved his store to the intersection of Elkmont Highway and River Road.

In 1916, Noah’s son, Ephraim, took over the store, and until 1925, the Gatlinburg Post Office was housed inside the E. E. Ogle and Company store. Eventually, the Ogle general store was torn down in the 1970s and replaced by the shops of the Mountain Mall.

The Legacy of the Ogle Family
Despite changes through the years, the legacy of the Ogle family—their homes, work places, and history—continues to live on. They are still remembered as the founding family of Gatlinburg—the descendants of the area’s first settlers. And through each of their stories, the history of Gatlinburg is woven and enriched.

For more information on the history of the city of Gatlinburg, visit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce website. For more information on cabins available in Gatlinburg, visit our website—we have cabins of all sizes and with a variety of amenities, depending on what you’re looking for. Please call our reservation specialist for help booking your Gatlinburg cabin today!

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