Take a step back in time as you visit some of the areas I will mention here in the article. It is a great way to experience the Smokies and learn of it’s diverse history, including the people that once lived worked and vacationed in the area. History abounds here and you are sure to lose yourself daydreaming of an era long gone but not forgotten.
THE WONDERLAND HOTEL once a vibrant tourist attraction which first opened for business in 1912. The two story structure had 26 guest rooms, carefully designed so that no two were alike, and each sported a private bath a luxury for that day and time. The area became The Great Smoky National Park in 1934. The hotel remained opened until 1992 among many changes within the park and life itself. Unfortunately in1995 fire took some of the structure, in 2006 the rest collapsed. The park collected some items (boards/windows) and the buildings around the hotel were slated for restoration. Sadly on April 19th, 2016 a fire also took out the annex. Today what is left of the hotel along with the entire Elkmont District is listed as one of 11 most endangered places by the national Trust for Historic Preservation. The following was taken in Elkmont District.
CEMETARIES IN THE GREAT SMOKY MT NATIONAL PARK A total of more than 151 known cemetaries exist in the national park some date to the 1800’s. 20 cemetaries around Fontana Lake became inaccessible by land with the building of the dam, still accessible by ferry. A cemetary also exists in the center of Gatlinburg. For more on White Oak Flats Cemetary check out our earlier blog article Hidden in the Heart of Gatlinburg.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS The Great Smoky National Park has over 90 historic structures, houses, barns, schools, churches, outbuildings and grist mills. Check out the map and put a few on your list to see when you visit.
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS CAMP Created during the depression to provide work and wages for young unemployed men many of the trails, bridges, campgrounds and buildings still stand today as a testament to their work. For a brief history on how the park was created and the part the CCC played in helping to build it click here
There are lots of fun things to do and see in the area, I hope you will choose at least one thing off this list and take a few moments to reflect on the history of the area, the people who lived here and the great privilege we have of enjoying such a diverse, historic and beautiful area.