All About the History of the Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

cantilever barn in cades cove
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You probably know that Cades Cove is the most popular place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s full of so many historic buildings people love to check out, but one of the most popular buildings is the cantilever barn in Cades Cove. This is a popular spot to visit along the Loop because it’s unusual. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of the cantilever barn in Cades Cove:

What is a Cantilever Barn?

cantilever barnFirst, we should explain what a cantilever barn is. It’s different from a traditional barn because of the overhang, also known as a cantilever. Typically, a cantilever barn has two log cribs that support the overhang with an empty space between the cribs, which is where livestock would be fed. The loft of the barn was used for storing hay or other crops, and the overhang was used for storing equipment and a place where animals could stay dry during rainy weather.

History of Cantilever Barns

German, Irish, and Swedish settlers brought their own architectural influences when they settled here, and experts believe their influences help create the cantilever barn. No one really knows where the true original idea for this type of barn came from. Some experts suggest that settlers took inspiration from all different kinds of architecture and created a new form.

cantilever barn in cades coveThey were typically found in the southeastern United States, but Sevier and Blount Counties in Tennessee have the most cantilever barns in the entire world. There are about 183 cantilever barns in Sevier County. These barns were ideal for farmers in the area because of their unique shape. It was easy to drive carriages under the barn through the cribs to unload hay or feed livestock. Since eastern Tennessee has heavy rainfall, livestock could stay under the overhang of the barn, and crops stayed dry on the second level. There’s also a rumor that the government back in the day taxed based on the square footage of a structure touching the ground. Since the cantilever barns only touched the ground with the cribs, taxes would have been significantly reduced!

Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

cantilever barn

The cantilever barn in Cades Cove is actually a replica of the original. Although it is a replica, this barn was made just like it would have been in the pioneer days, with tools available at the time. It is part of Tipton Place, a homestead located in the second half of the Cades Cove Loop. William “Fighting Billy” Tipton settled in the area in the 1820s. The homestead includes a two-story cabin, double-pen corn crib, old-fashioned bee gums, blacksmith shop, and, of course, the cantilever barn. This is one of the most popular places to stop along Cades Cove because the structure is so unique. You’ll find it to be the centerpiece of many pictures, drawings, and paintings of the area. You’ll definitely want to capture a picture for yourself to remember spending time in Cades Cove!

Now you know a little more about the cantilever barn in Cades Cove. Want to know even more about the area? Learn about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now!

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