Elkmont is the “it” section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The houses in Elkmont have been neglected, forgotten and hidden in plain sight for years, really decades. Now , it’s all over the news.
Finally the park is tearing down most of the old houses and rehabilitating a few of them . The area is (dare I say it) what the Fontana Road to Nowhere was eight to ten years ago. See the history on my previous blogs.
So I was so glad that the Classic hikes of the Smokies decided to schedule a hike with so much history and easy hiking in December.
It always a little tricky to postpone a group hike, especially one planned months in advance. But Friends of the Smokies decided to move the usual Tuesday hike to Thursday because of iffy weather. Nine hikers showed up at Elkmont.
We started on Millionaires Row, passing by the Spence Cabin. All the other houses on Little River Trail have been removed; only chimneys and stone foundations are left. We almost completed the circle on Cucumber Gap Trail but took Jakes Creek Trail to the Avent Cabin. Marielle and I recently found the cabin, though other hikers had known about it for years.
We came down through Society Hill, where only one house, Col. Chapman’s cabin, has been saved. After a visit to a very modern-looking cemetery, we walked down Daisy Town to the Appalachian Club.
It looks like almost all of the houses in Daisy Town will be saved.
I’m not surprised since the houses there were the best maintained and they are easiest for visitors to find; i.e. you can drive through Daisy Town.
Finally we drove down to the Wonderland Hotel site and climbed to the top. According to Julie Dodd who writes a blog for Friends of the Smokies,
The Wonderland Hotel Annex was one of the structures scheduled for removal . The Wonderland Hotel was removed in December 2006, after a selection of historic materials was salvaged for conservation in the park’s museum collection.
The Wonderland Hotel closed in 1992. The annex burned in 2016. Recently someone set fire to one of the Elkmont houses in Daisytown and the park is searching for the culprit(s). We saw the damage on the porch of one house.See the picture at the top.