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The Abandoned Town of Elkmont, Tennessee

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posted on May, 18 2017 @ 02:23 PM

In 1909, as logging began to strip the area of it's lumber, the Little River Logging Company in Townsend, TN began selling plots of land for hunting and fishing use. The very next year, in 1910, a group of Knoxville outdoors-men created the Appalachian Club and begun building their cabins along the road near the Appalachian Clubhouse. This row of homes is known today as Elkmont's "Daisy Town".

When the Wonderland Hotel opened in 1912 the small community became a desirable destination to the region's most elite residents. It's value continued to rise over the next several years as membership to the club was very hard to get and a section of Elkmont became known as "Millionaire's Row". The exclusivity spurred more development when a group of rejected businessmen bought land in the area and built their own version of the club.

For more than a decade, the only access to Elkmont was via train. That changed in 1925 when the Little River Logging Company decided to move their operation just a few miles away to Tremont, Tennessee on the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. The residents and members of Elkmont were irate, not simply because the LRLC moved, but because they did it secretly, in the middle of the night and with no warning - removing the railway used to access the small town.

It turned out not to be a bad thing, because roads were able to be built where the tracks once lay. In fact, many of the very first roads into several of these remote Smoky Mountain areas are built on top of old railroad tracks.

I hope you guys like the video and thread. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Elkmont, Tennessee

National Park Movement

In 1920, Willis P. Davis and his wife Anne, who owned a summer cottage at Elkmont, began to suggest an idea for a national park in the Smokies after a visit to Yellowstone. While the Davises merely suggested the idea to influential friends in Knoxville, it was another Elkmont cottage-owner, David C. Chapman, who took the initiative. Business owners in Knoxville quickly saw the benefits of a national park and began lobbying federal and state governments.

After the U.S. government agreed to establish the national park if the states of Tennessee and North Carolina purchased the land, Knoxville began an intensive lobbying campaign aimed at the Tennessee legislature. In 1925, Chapman hosted a group of legislators at Elkmont to sell the park idea. The following year, Colonel Townsend made the initial 76,000-acre (310 km2) sale.

While Elkmont was the birth of the park movement, it was also home to one of the strongest anti-park movements. Shortly after the Townsend purchase, an attorney for Little River Lumber Company named Jim Wright rallied a hodge-podge group of attorneys, businessmen, and mountaineers at Elkmont to propose the establishment of a national forest rather than a national park. Wright also proposed a massive road-building campaign across the crest of the Smokies in hopes of increasing the land's value. Largely because of Wright's efforts, the initial bill allowing for the purchase of land in the Smokies exempted Elkmont from eminent domain. Cottage owners managed to gain a provision that allowed them to sell their cottages at half-price in exchange for lifetime leases.

The fate of Elkmont's historic cottages

Most of the lifetime leases on the Wonderland Hotel and the rustic cottages at Elkmont expired in 1992 (two expired in 2001), and ownership reverted to the National Park Service. The park's 1982 General Management Plan calls for all structures to be removed to allow nature to reclaim the affected areas. However, in 1994, the Wonderland Hotel and several of the rustic cottages were placed on the National Register of Historic Places, giving them a special status. A debate immediately ensued over the fate of these structures.

In 2005, the Wonderland Hotel collapsed from a structural failure. Parts of the hotel deemed to have historical value were removed and the rest cleared, leaving only the annex and a chimney. In May 2016 the annex suffered a devastating fire, which is currently under investigation.

In its 2009 Final Environmental Impact Statement for Elkmont, the National Park Service announced plans to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and eighteen cabins in the Appalachian Club section. The remaining structures will be carefully documented and removed.

edit on 18-5-2017 by esteay812 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 18 2017 @ 06:21 PM
a reply to: esteay812

Looks like a gorgeous spot!

I could see the trees all day long, and never tire of that view.

posted on May, 18 2017 @ 06:25 PM
a reply to: LadyGreenEyes

It's an awesome place, out in the middle of the forest, right next to a big mountain stream. The weather was great while I was there, but I can't wait until it's a hot summer day and I can jump in the river.

posted on May, 19 2017 @ 08:17 AM
a reply to: esteay812

So is this the start of the closing of Cade's Cove? All those poor people in the mountains loosing there home to the Tennessee Authority. I love Townsend and Maryville, rambling in the Smokies on the quiet side, but I could also feel the sadness...

posted on May, 19 2017 @ 09:08 AM
a reply to: Newt22

Yeah, it's ironic that the very same people who built this place also pushed hard for the National Park and that is eventually what led to it's demise. They're also the people who ran off many of the Cades Cove residents.

It's always a neat feeling to walk through these places and think about what it must've been like when they were having their parties and all the stuff that must've went on there business-wise.

It's still relatively isolated, 15 or so miles from the closest town. It must've been quite trip getting there back in the early 1900's.

posted on May, 22 2017 @ 09:58 AM
a reply to: esteay812

Thanks for that!
I could be lost there for days and never get tired

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