Elkmont

Gary L   Suddath

Joined August 2007

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This is one of many cabins in the community area of Elkmont area of the Smokies. It has had a lot of contraversery over the years. Resisting residents, vacationers and the Wonderland Hotel owners continued to work out leases until all expired in the 1990’s and all closed down. There was then an on going controversy about what to do with all the buildings and homes. Now the Park Service has chosen several to restore for the historical value they hold.

The history surrounding this community begins with The Little River Logging Camp close to the end the end of the 1800’s. They logged this area and the trees were 1st moved to the sawmill in Townsend by the Little River. Later The Little River Railroad Company transported the logs to the mill. It was used extensively by logging operations and also brought tourists up to Elkmont.

In 1908 The Little River Lumber Company established the town of Elkmont. After a couple of years they started selling places for hunting and fishin purposes to those in the Knoxville area. They established the “Appalachian Club”. Later the Wonderland Park Hotel was built in Elkmont. In about 1919 some businessmen bought the hotel and the “ Wonderland Club” was born. In time these two groups became mostly a place for the wealthy to gather and socialize.

Cabins were built and the elite had themselves a community all their own. Upon the creation of the National Park in the 1930s, most of Elkmont’s cottage owners were given lifetime leases. These were converted to 20-year leases in 1952, and renewed in 1972. The National Park Service refused to renew the leases in 1992, and under the park’s general management plan, the hotel and cottages were to be removed. In 1994, however, the Wonderland Hotel and several dozen of the Elkmont cottages were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Elkmont Historic District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Then a heated issue of the fate of the historic structures began. In 2009, the National Park Service announced plans to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and 18 cottages and outbuildings in the Appalachian Club area. The choice was made for these because they were older and more historically significant. It was also decided to remove all other structures, including the Wonderland Hotel which feel in several years ago

Artwork Comments

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