John C. House

John C. House

Posted on 05/29/2013

Photo taken on May 12, 2013

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John C House
John C. House

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I go to visit Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains from time to time. There was once a very different landscape there, both social as well as physical. The area was logged extensively beginning in the 1880s, and by the early 1900s the area around Elkmont had been stripped of much of its timber. By 1910, affluent Knoxvillians had begun building summer hunting and fishing cabins in the area, and when the US Government established the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934, many of the families who owned cabins and cottages arranged to be able to continue to lease the land from the government, an arrangement that lasted until 1992 for most of the properties.

There has been some controversy about whether to restore or demolish the buildings, and in 2009 the Park Service announced plans to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and 18 cabins in that area. There are quite a few cabins, summer homes, that have been abandoned. While some are being restored, or at least preserved, the majority are being allowed to succumb to nature, which will have removed most traces of them in time. Only the stone chimneys and walls will be evidence of what was once there. Some are quickly deteriorating and look quite different between visits. I'm not sure which cabin this is, but it is on the stretch called Society Hill, on Jakes Creek.