Whitehead Place

Lisa G. Putman

Joined November 2007

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Artist's Description

The Whitehead Place, Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, USA

These cabins are tucked away on a road I missed on my first visit to Cades Cove. I did not know the story and was amazed at how small the cabin in the back was, the door was so short my mother of 5’7" towered above it and had to duck to go inside. The story of Matilda Shields is a sad one with a happy ending. The tiny cabin is a testament of how folks in the cove cared for one another in times of trouble. Matilda and her small son were abandoned by her husband, the baby’s father. Matilda’s brothers worked very quickly to buid this cabin for her protection and shelter. This is the most rugged cabin remaining in the Cove, as it was built very quickly of rough-hewn logs with a felling axe and rubble used to contruct the chimney.

In time Matilda was re-married the widower Henry Whitehead who in 1898, out of love and sympathy built her one of the nicest log homes in Cades Cove. Matilda and Henry Whitehead’s new Smokies home had a brick chimney, unheard of in Cades Cove at the time. In Cades Cove if you wanted bricks you had to make them yourself. The process was accomplished by finding clay soil, and digging and then filling a hole with water. The surrounding clay soil was then scrapped and stirred with a hoe until thick and smooth. Then the wet clay was put into molds where the bricks were dried. Afterwards the bricks were fired to make them durable. Later Henry stacked his bricks with mortar into one of the first chimneys in Cades Cove.
The rest of their Cades Cove cabin was made of square-sawed logs that were finely finished inside to be smooth and attractive. In fact the cabin was so nice that it looked very much like the frame homes which were soon to become fashionable when the first sawmills were constructed in Cades Cove.

The couple’s masterpiece was especially warm according to Cades Cove standards as square log construction was naturally well insulated by approximately four inches thick walls and practically no space between the logs. The Henry and Matilda Whitehead place is the only square-sawed log home to remain in Cades Cove as well as the only one left in the entire Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is considered a transition house from the early Cades Cove cabins to the modern frame homes that later were popular in Cades Cove.

Cades Cove Collection – Smoky Mountain National Park, USA


Companion Piece

Artwork Comments

  • Jennifer Vickers
  • Jonicool
  • Magriet Meintjes
  • Camerashy
  • Anthony Pierce
  • Gary L   Suddath
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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