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If you’re a history buff, you’ll love visiting the Smoky Mountains! There are numerous historical landmarks scattered throughout the Smokies for you to explore. To help you plan your trip, we’ve made a list of the top 7 historical places in the Smoky Mountains for you to visit while you’re here:
1. Walker Sisters Place
The Walker Sisters Place is a log cabin located in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The cabin was originally built in the 1840s and was home to the Walker Sisters. The Walker Sisters were 5 unmarried sisters who refused to leave their traditional household, ever after the National Park was established. The sisters even chatted with tourists and sold homemade treats and toys to visitors! You can still see the Walker Sisters’ cabin today.
2. The Little Greenbrier School
The Little Greenbrier School was built in 1882 and is a one-story building that doubled as a church and school for the residents of the Little Greenbrier town. The idea for the school began when the citizens of the town wanted a teacher for their children. From 1883 until 1936, the Little Greenbrier School was a place for community to grow both academically and spiritually. Today, school groups visit the historic building and learn about the Smoky Mountains while sitting in the old desks.
3. The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a popular historic landmark in Pigeon Forge. In the early 1800s, the water-powered grist mill became one of the main hubs of activity in the small mountain community. The meals and flours that the mill produced became crucial to the day-to-day survival of the early settlers. One of the mill’s most distinctive features is the giant water wheel that harnesses the flow of the Little Pigeon River. The Old Mill is still one of the most popular places in the Smokies today!
4. Elkmont Ghost Town
Elkmont Ghost Town began as a sleepy mountain community, then was transformed into a bustling logging town. Little River Lumber Company built a railroad that unintentionally turned the town into a popular vacation destination. Many residents got lifetime leases for their summer cottages, but a majority of those leases expired in 1992. When that happened, Elkmont turned into a ghost town. As of January 2018, 18 of the cabins are being preserved by the National Park Service, and 4 are open to the public to walk through and view.
5. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is one of the most popular historical places in the Smoky Mountains. The first settlers came to Cades Cove about 1818, and by 1850, it was home to a community of 685 people. When the National Park was created, much of Cades Cove was evacuated, and the need for facilities and services decreased. Today, the National Park maintains Cades Cove to keep it how it looked in the early days of the settlers. When you visit, you can see a number of homesteads, 3 churches, a working grist mill and a barn.
6. Historic Ogle Cabin
When you visit the Historic Ogle Cabin, you’ll be visiting Gatlinburg’s very first log cabin! William Ogle was the first man to decide to make his home in Gatlinburg, which was then known as White Oak Flats. He went back to get his family to bring them to their new home, but sadly passed away before making it back to White Oak Flats. His wife brought the family to finish the cabin he started, which is still standing today. Today, you can see the Historic Ogle Cabin at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
7. John Ownby Cabin
This historic log cabin was built in 1860. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The cabin is constructed from tulip trees, white pine logs and clay mortar. You can see the John Ownby Cabin when you hike the Fighting Creek Nature Trail in the National Park. When you hike the trail, not only will you get to see the historic cabin, but you’ll see gorgeous forest scenery and even a mountain stream.
The Smoky Mountains are rich in history, and there are plenty of places for you to explore! Browse all the places to stay and start planning your trip to see all of the historical places in the Smoky Mountains!