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The historic John Oliver cabin in Cades Cove.

6 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove

If you’ve ever been to Cades Cove, you’ve probably stopped at the John Oliver Cabin. It’s the first stop along the Loop where you can get out and explore. We want to share some surprising things you may not know about this historical building. Check out these 6 surprising things you didn’t know about the John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove:

1. It’s Not Actually John Oliver’s Cabin

The John Oliver Place in Cades Cove.One of the most surprising facts to learn is the John Oliver cabin that is standing in Cades Cove isn’t actually the original! The cabin you can walk inside today is actually the honeymoon cabin John built for his son. Building a cabin for children on the same property as the parents was a normal occurrence during this time. The original cabin was about 50 yards behind where this cabin stands today.

2. Olivers Were the First Permanent Settlers

John Oliver and his wife Lurena were the first permanent settlers in the area. They moved into Cades Cove in the 1820s before there was a grist mill, and the only way to get to the area was a primitive trail. Since their home wasn’t built yet, they spent the first winter living in a hut.

3. One of the Oldest Structures in the Park

historic log cabin set back in woods with fence surroundingThe John Oliver cabin is one of the oldest structures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The exact year the cabin was built is unknown, but since they settled in the area in the 1820s, it is one of the oldest structures in the area.

4. It Doesn’t Have Nails Holding It Together

A really surprising thing to learn about this cabin is there are no nails or pegs holding it together. The Olivers built it so that gravity and notched corners keep it standing upright. Settlers built structures this way because they were easier to proof against weather by putting moss and other soft materials between the wood slats.

5. National Park Maintains the Structure

John Oliver's Cabin in Cades CoveAs with every other historical structure in the national park, the John Oliver cabin is maintained. They wanted to keep the cabin looking as authentic as possible, and since people come and walk through the building, it does need repairs and maintenance every so often. But the national park takes great care in ensuring the building’s authenticity of what it would have looked like in its heyday.

6. John Oliver Fought to Keep It

When the national parks were being established, many people who lived on the land surrendered it, but many people fought against their land being taken. John Oliver was one of the people who fought for his land. He went to court several times over the years, but eventually, he lost his cause and was compensated for his land.

Don’t forget to check out these things you shouldn’t do when you visit Cades Cove!

If you’ve never stopped by the John Oliver cabin while you’re in Cades Cove, you definitely should the next time you’re in town. Find out more about what you can find in the national park by learning about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!