Cades Cove History
Cades Cove is one of the most visited areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some would say it is the most visited. It makes for a unique and memorable experience as visitors can explore historic cabins, churches and even a grist mill. Cades Cove is an 11 mile loop that you can either travel by vehicle or bike. You will witness incredible mountain scenery and see many wildlife like deer, black bears and turkeys. At times, you even see coyote and wolves frolicking through the fields.
Before the National Park was created, Cades Cove was a place many families lived and worked for over 100 years. The Cherokee Indians used to travel through the valley to hunt deer, bison and bears before the European settlers settled in the area.
The European settlers arrived in Cades Cove in the early 1820s. Log homes, corn-cribs, and smokehouses quickly went up and land was cleared for farming. The Cades Cove was very fertile and rich so crops were abundant, especially corn.
The population in Cades Cove reached about 685 in 1850. As the community grew, more buildings were needed so a Baptist and Methodist church were established in the 1820s and schoolhouses followed soon after. Before the schoolhouses were built, school was in farm houses where the teachers were boarded. Social events included corn husking, gathering chestnuts and making molasses during the fall months. In fact, the social gatherings were how many found their wife and/or husband.
Neighbors truly helped one another out during this time. When a member of the church passed away, the church would ring their bell to get people’s attention in the community. After the initial ring to gather everyone’s attention, the bell would ring for however old the deceased was. With Cades Cove being such a close knit community, many could easily figure how who passed because they knew the age of everyone and often knew who was sick at the time. The men of the area would dig a grave and make a coffin if needed. The women would prepare the body and coffin for the burial. Of course, the folks of the area would also help with the needs of the family such as cooking meals and caring for children as well-much like things are still done today.
When Tennessee and North Carolina began to purchase land for the National Park, a few families would welcomed it and sold their land and moved out of Cades Cove. Some families, however, refused and really fought to stay. John W. Oliver was one of the residents that did so. In fact, he went to court several times fighting it. A few of the residents in the Cove signed life-leases which allowed them to live on their land until they passed away. Those people were given less money and were required to obey the rules the National Park Service set which included hunting restrictions and timber cutting. As people left, the need for many of the community buildings were not needed. In 1944, the last school closed and in 1947 the last post office closed.
The National Park Service maintains Cades Cove and have restored many of the older log cabins etc for travelers to enjoy when they vacation here in the Smoky Mountains area. While traveling the loop, you can easily see and imagine how it would have been to reside in Cades Cove years ago. There are many hiking trails that you can choose to hike while visiting the area. Trust us, you do not want to forget your camera at home as you will see some of the most breathtaking views in this quaint Cove.
Whispering Pines and our other two properties (Bear Crossing and Cedar Lodge) are all located within 10 minutes of the National Park. Many of us hike often and know the best places to send our guests to take in the beauty of America’s most visited National Park. So, plan your Smoky Mountain trip and vacation in one of our Pigeon Forge Condos. Support the economy in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and have one of the best vacations yet in 2017.