3 Historic Buildings in the Smokies You Need to Visit
As you probably know, there is a ton of history to be found in the Smoky Mountains. From natural formations to remnants of old civilizations, the Smokies are a gold mine for history lovers. Inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are some incredible structures that you should add to your vacation itinerary. Here are 3 historical buildings in the Smokies you need to visit:
1. John Oliver Cabin
Cades Cove is one of the best areas to visit when you travel to the Smoky Mountains. Not only is this the prime spot to see wildlife roaming through the fields, but there are also plenty of historical buildings to explore as well. One of those is the John Oliver Cabin. The owners of the cabin, John and Lucretia Oliver, were the first permanent white settlers in Cades Cove. They moved to the area sometime during the 1820s. One of the craziest facts about their story is that they lived in the Smokies before there were any working grist mills. This means that they had to make their own cornmeal using just a mortar and pestle. When you visit Cades Cove today, you can tour the inside of their house that sits just past Sparks Lane.
2. Cades Cove Churches
As you make your way along the Cades Cove Loop Road, you will come across 3 different historical churches. Each one of these structures has a unique building foundation and history, so be sure to take time to check them all out. The Primitive Baptist Church was founded in 1827 for the local residents to attend church in Cades Cove. Prior to that time, they had to travel to Millers and Wears Cove to attend Sunday services. However, the white church you see today was not built until 1887.
In 1902, the first Methodist Church was built in Cades Cove. In total, it took 115 days to build the church, and only cost a total of $115! The most unique feature of this building is the two doors. During the time that the church was built, the men would enter through one door, while women and children had to use the second door and sit on the opposite side of the church. The final church to visit in Cades Cove is the Missionary Baptist Church, which was originally constructed in 1894, but had to be rebuilt in 1915 because they outgrew the first building!
3. Walker Sisters Place
When you visit the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to explore the inside of the Walker Sisters’ Place, which was constructed by the family’s grandfather in the 1840s. The Walker Sisters have a fascinating history, including their fight to stay at home. When John Walker passed away in 1921, he left the family home to his six unmarried daughters. One of the sisters, Nancy, passed away ten years later, leaving five sisters in the cabin.
When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated in 1940, the park wanted to take control of the property, but the stubborn sisters didn’t budge. They fought very hard to stay on the family farm, and a deal was finally reached where the sisters were each given $4,750 and permission to continue living in the cabin. Today, you can find the historic cabin along the Metcalf Bottoms Trail in the Smoky Mountains!
Now that you know about some of the historical buildings in the Smokies, check out some more history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! We look forward to seeing you soon!