Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a place that values its rich history. The Smoky Mountain area is filled with well-preserved homesteads and buildings that were constructed during the pioneer era. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Black Bear Inn & Suites has put together a guide to three fascinating historic sites near Gatlinburg TN.
1. Historic Ogle Cabin
The Historic Ogle Cabin was the first log home to ever be built in Gatlinburg! In 1802, William Ogle traveled from South Carolina to the Smokies in search of a better life. In preparation for his family’s arrival, Ogle cut down trees and fashioned them into logs for a cabin.
Sadly, William fell ill and passed away before he could finish construction. In the wake of her husband’s death, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle moved to Gatlinburg with her seven children in 1807 and used William’s logs to complete the cabin for her family. Today, you can visit this beautifully maintained cabin at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center.
Cades Cove is a breathtaking valley located about 50 minutes outside of Gatlinburg. The first Euro-American residents in Cades Cove arrived in 1818, and by 1850 there were 671 people in this tight knit mountain community. When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in the 1930s, the residents of Cades Cove were forced to leave their homes.
Over two million people visit Cades Cove each year to enjoy its natural beauty and its impressive collection of historic buildings. The valley features an 11-mile, one-way loop road that stops at all of Cades Cove’s landmarks. Highlights of the cove include the John Oliver Cabin (the first cabin in the valley), three different churches, the John Cable Grist Mill, the Tipton Barn, and a number of other 19th century structures. It’s easy to see why Cades Cove is among the most popular historic sites near Gatlinburg TN!
3. Little Greenbrier
Little Greenbrier is another mountain community that was ultimately absorbed into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unlike Cades Cove, however, a few of the residents in Little Greenbrier kept living in their home even after the national park was established!
When John Walker died in 1921, he left his log cabin (which had been built in the 1840s) to his six unmarried daughters. Rather than leaving when the national park was established, the Walker Sisters stayed in their cabin and lived a traditional life without modern conveniences. The sisters acted as quasi-ambassadors to the park, chatting with visitors and even selling them treats and other handmade products. The cabin wasn’t handed over to the National Park Service until Louisa Walker passed away in 1964.
When you visit Little Greenbrier today, you can see the Walker Sisters Cabin and a schoolhouse that was built by John Walker. This historic homestead is accessible via a trail that begins at Metcalf Bottoms, near the Wears Valley entrance to the national park.
Guests at Black Bear Inn & Suites will love visiting all of these incredible historic sites near Gatlinburg TN. Our hotel is located right in the heart of Gatlinburg, just minutes from all of the fun on The Strip and the gorgeous scenery in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With an enclosed heated pool, complimentary full hot breakfast, high-speed wireless internet access, and even more great amenities, Black Bear Inn & Suites has everything you need for a stellar vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!