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A Brief History of East Tennessee


This article is composed of links to several sources.   I hope you will enjoy them all.
East Tennessee enjoys a rich and colorful history.  The first article is published by the Tennessee Secretary of State.  Have you ever hear of the almost fourteen state of Franklin?  It was a very short lived effort to start the State of Franklin, named after 
Benjamin Franklin. The territory came from western North Carolina.   Ultimately it failed and was finally became part of what is now Tennessee.   This is article about the State That Never Was State of Franklin.      

The concept of Great Smoky Mountain National Park is said to originated with Elkmont Resort and Wonderland Hotel.  The Wonderland Hotel was a magnificent hotel with a huge porch .It had approximately 28 rooms.  The rich and powerful would come to the Wonderland Hotel to vacation.   Unfortunately, the National Park Service allowed the hotel to fall into disrepair.  The park Service could not demolish the building because it was considered an historic structure. They instead choose to ignore it.  Eventually, a fire damaged the building.  Rumor has been the Park Service started the fire.  This article is published by Hike The Smokys and has what are some of the last photographs and the last known video of the The  Wonderland Hotel.  Elmont Resort had the original Great Smoky Mountain Vacation Log cabins.   These cabins were built in the early 1900's. 

This is the link to Elmont Resort.  This article is published by Sevier County.   Visitors to Elmont Resort and the Wonderland Hotel would take the train to Knoxville then transfer by taking the Little River Rail Road out to the resorts.  The cabins had many colorful names and subdivision names such as Society Hill.   Some of the cabins are still standing and many believe one day the Park Service will allow visitors.   

This is another article just published in 2023 about Elkmont Restored.   The article discusses the Daisy Hill area.   Sixteen cabins have been restored.  The National Park Service according to the article is allowing visitors.  It has some good photographs  of early Gatlinburg cabins.    I have felt Elkmont was the inspiration for Great Smoky Mountain National Park and also the idea of TN mountain cabins.    Article was originally published in Insider then on Yahoo.

The actual Great Smoky Mountain National Park was funded by the States of North Carolina and Tennessee.  The Rockefeller  Foundation provided over five million dollars in funding also.  This transformed Sevier County TN  in just  a few short years from an agriculture economy to the tourist based economy we know today.  This link is an article provided The National Park service concerning the  Great Smoky National Park History

Cades Cove is one of the most visited parts of the Great Smoky Mountain Park.  That area was where the first part of the park was started.   Cades Cove reflects the culture of the Great Smoky Mountains and Appalachia two hundred years ago.   This article by the National Park service talks about Cades Cove History

Cataloochee Valley NC is very similar to cades Cove.   Actually at the time the Park was created; it was the largest community to become a part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Elk were released in the area and are thriving.  Cataloochee Valley is off Interstate 40 by Maggie Valley.  The road is very rough but many people consider the trip worth the effort as it is there favorite part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The homes were built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The first article is by the National Park service Cataloochee History  The second article is more in depth and is in   Blue Ridge Mountain Life  



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