History

rich mountain road in the smoky mountains next to a map

There’s a Curious 200-Year-Old Road Hidden in the Smoky Mountains

Rich Mountain Road is a 200-year-old road hidden in the Smoky Mountains and it’s not for the faint of heart I learned to drive on the mountain roads of East Tennessee. I’ve rarely encountered a road that gave me much concern. That said, a couple of times, I’ve been caught underprepared. Maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to the

biltmore house in north carolina

Here’s How Much Biltmore Is Worth After Adjusting for Inflation

A look at the Biltmore Estate, from today’s standards In the 1880s, George Washington Vanderbilt II came to the mountains with a dream. He also came with the type of generational wealth typically reserved for kings and pharaohs. So when Vanderbilt wanted a summer house, he purchased nearly 700 parcels of land – 50 farms and at least five cemeteries

row of houses in elkmont ghost town in the great smoky mountains national park

The Fascinating History of Elkmont Ghost Town (and How To Get There)

A history of Elkmont and what to know before you go What is known as the Elkmont ghost town is a former logging camp town and once-booming resort town near the Sevier-Blount County line in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The first settlers in the 1800s were mostly hunters, homesteaders and small-scale loggers. IN THIS ARTICLE The history of

fdr memorial on newfound gap road

Newfound Gap Controversy: The Road Once-Described as “an Atrocity”

The now-popular Newfound Gap Road was once described as “an atrocity” by those who opposed its construction As someone who has been driving around these mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina for nearly 35 years now, I’ve been on many mountain roads that I have no desire to drive on ever again. I don’t ever want to do

a cabin on a lake

The Effort to Turn Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains Into a Lake

In the 1930s, official plans were drawn up to turn the Cove into a reservoir Driving along the edges of East Tennessee’s lakes, there are signs that things are not always as they have been. Decaying grain silos rise inexplicably from the water and ancient roads and trails lead down to lakebeds without turning. In the days before the Tennessee Valley Authority,

downtown gatinburg today and ogles general store circa 1923

The Ogles vs the Gatlins: The Odd Family Feud That Built Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg was named after a disliked man who lived there for less than 10 years Gatlinburg really should be Oglesburg, Oglesville or maybe Oglestown. I mean, at least, White Oak Flats. The town that became Gatlinburg, you see, was first settled by a South Carolinian named William Ogle in 1802. As one of the first settlers, Ogle found his “Land

Fun Mountain in Gatlinburg

There’s an Abandoned Theme Park Rusting Away in the Smoky Mountains

Local theorizes what happened to Fun Mountain in Gatlinburg TN In 1993, Dollywood was still in its first decade of growing out of its Silver Dollar City phase. Other Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge attractions were morphing with the dawn of the internet age. And Fun Mountain, located at the entrance to the strip in Gatlinburg, tried to lay its claim

a young boy runs in the woods

Feral Humans in the Smoky Mountains? What Happened to Dennis Martin

Social media revives rumors of feral humans in the Smoky Mountains linked to old cold case Dennis Martin was 6 years old in June of 1969. It was Father’s Day weekend and they hiked near the Tennessee-North Carolina border, a Martin family tradition. William Martin (his father) and Clyde (his grandfather) and the two boys started at Cades Cove and

water performers in the background, the tommy bartlett water circus sign in the foreground

Remembering the Lost Tommy Bartlett’s Water Circus Act in Pigeon Forge

While short-lived in Pigeon Forge, Tommy Bartlett’s Water Circus is fondly remembered by those few who attended It took ten years to find the perfect land for Tommy Bartlett’s Water Circus in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. In 1976, 110 acres of farmland were finally purchased with 450 feet of US Highway 441 frontage. A 20-foot-tall dam was built to hold 8.5

Ripley's, then and now

Gatlinburg Then and Now: How It’s Changed Over the Years (With Photos)

Gatlinburg was destined for greatness. Sure, it has natural beauty, but that’s not all. There’s Dolly Parton, too. Of course, as a child, I single-handedly attributed the area’s tourism completely to Dolly. There’s surely no doubt that she fulfilled her dreams of both giving job opportunities to locals and offering tourists more reasons to visit the Great Smoky Mountains with