Tag Archive: history

Cades Cove: the Tipton Place

Tipton Place © William Britten use with permission only

William “Fighting Billy” Tipton was Revolutionary War veteran and the first of the Tipton clan to acquire land in the Smoky Mountains. This was in the 1820s under Tennessee’s Land Grant program. Colonel Hamp Tipton, a veteran of the Civil War, built the two story cabin above in the early 1870s. Miss Lucy and Miss…

Smoky Mountains History: Indian Gap

Indian Gap 1928

During the greater span of history in the Smoky Mountains, Indian Gap has been the main route across the mountains. Long a Cherokee trail, Indian Gap Road actually charged a toll in the 1830s. In exchange for the payment, farmers and merchants and travelling families were allowed to endure the rocky and rutted, steep and…

Favorite Trails: Kanati Fork and Thomas Divide

Along the Kanati Fork Trail

The Thomas Divide is a 14-mile spine along the eastern side of the Deep Creek watershed. The Kanati Fork Trail climbs up the eastern side of the Thomas Divide, rising over 2000 feet from Newfound Gap Rd in a series of switchbacks until it meets the Thomas Divide Trail on the ridge. The two trails…

Little River Road: Then and Now

Little River Road in the 1920s

This was just a fun assignment. I had the photo above, taken by Jim Thompson sometime in the 1920s or 1930s along Little River Road in the Smoky Mountains, between Townsend and Metcalf Bottoms. So I set out one day last week to see if I could find the exact location, and see what it…

Smoky Mountains History: Fences

Split Rain Fence © William Britten use with permission only

In the days before barbed wire, the traditional fencing material in the Smoky Mountains was rails split from a rot-resistant hardwood such as chestnut or yellow locust. The fence above at John Olivers place in Cades Cove is known as a snake, worm, or zig-zag.  Sometimes the rails were just stacked up in zig-zag fashion,…

Smoky Mountains History: Winter in the Smokies

Skiing on Indian Gap, 1947 © University of Tennessee Libraries

The incredible photo above was taken by Dutch Roth during a hike to Rainbow Falls on February 16th, 1958. The photo below, also by Dutch Roth, was taken on the old Indian Gap Highway on February 22, 1947. Exactly 64 years ago today! Both photos used with permision of the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection,…

Smoky Mountains History: Daisy Town, Society Hill, and Millionaires Row

Daisy Town Interior © William Britten use with permission only

100 years ago in the early 20th century, the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a bustling center of tourism for the wealthy. The Appalachian Club, Wonderland Hotel, Daisy Town, Society Hill and Millionaires Row comprised the new Smoky Mountains resort.  The Little River Railroad scheduled daily excursions from Knoxville to…

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