by Anthony Vaarwerk
Gatlinburg is a resort city near the Smoky Mountains in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. The population of Gatlinburg stood at 3,828 according to the 2000 U.S Census. The city is a popular vacation resort. It rests on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441, which connects Gatlinburg to Cherokee, North Carolina through the national park.
Rental Managers in Gatlinburg Tennessee
For many centuries, Native American and Cherokee hunters used a footpath known as the Indian Gap Trail to access the abundant quarry in the forests and coves of the Smokies. This trail connected the Great Indian Warpath with the Rutherford Indian Trace, following the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River from modern-day Sevierville through modern-day Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Sugarlands.
Although many 18th century European and early American hunters and fur trappers traversed or camped in the flats where Gatlinburg is now situated, it was William Ogle (1751–1803)who first decided to permanently settle in the area. Ogle, a native of Edgefield, South Carolina, with the help of the Cherokee, cut, hewed, and notched logs in the flats, planning to erect a cabin the following year. He returned to his home in Edgefield to retrieve his family and grow one final crop for the season. Shortly after he arrivedl in Edgefield, however, a malaria epidemic swept the low country, and Ogle succumbed in 1803. After his death, in 1806, William’s widow - Martha Ogle (1756–1827), and her brother Peter Huskey, along with her daughter and her husband made the journey over the Indian Gap Trail to what is now Gatlinburg, where William's notched logs were waiting their arrival. They erected a cabin near the convergence of Baskins Creek and the West Fork of the Little Pigeon immediately after their arrival. The cabin still stands today near the heart of Gatlinburg.
In the decade following the arrival of the Ogles, McCarters, and Huskeys in what came to be known as White Oak Flats, a steady stream of settlers started living in the area. Most of these settlers were veterans of the American Revolution or War of 1812 who had converted into deeds the 50-acre (200,000 m2) tracts they had received for service in war.
In 1856, a post office was established in the general store of Radford Gatlin (c. 1798-1880), thus giving the town the name "Gatlinburg".
Gatlinburg at the turn of the 20th century
In the 1880s, the invention of the band saw and the logging railroad led to a flourish in the lumber industry. With the harvesting of forests in the Southeastern United States continuing at a rapid rate, lumber companies were forced to push deeper into the mountain areas of the Appalachian highlands. In 1901, Colonel W.B. Townsend established the Little River Lumber Company in Tuckaleechee Cove to the west, and lumber businessmen began buying up logging rights to vast tracts of forest in the Smokies.
A pivotal figure in Gatlinburg during the time was Andrew Jackson Huff (1878–1949). Huff developed a sawmill in Gatlinburg in 1900, and local residents began providing lodging to loggers and other lumber company officials. Tourists also began to come into the area, drawn to the Smokies by the writings of authors such as Mary Noailles Murfree and Horace Kephart, who wrote extensively about the region's natural wonders.
The National Park
Extensive logging in the early 1900s led to increased demands by conservationists for federal action. So, in 1911 the Weeks Act was passed by the Congress to allow for the purchase of land for national forests. Authors such as Horace Kephart and Knoxville-area business interests began advocating the creation of a national park in the Smokies.
Andrew Huff spearheaded the movement in the Gatlinburg area. He opened the first hotel in Gatlinburg — the Mountain View Hotel — in 1916. His son established LeConte Lodge atop Mount Le Conte in 1926. In spite of resistance from lumberers at Elkmont and difficulties with the Tennessee legislature,the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was opened in 1934.
The park completely changed Gatlinburg. When the Pi Phis arrived in 1912, Gatlinburg was a small village with six houses, a blacksmith shop, a general store, a Baptist church, and a greater community of 600 individuals, most of whom lived in log cabins. In 1934, the first year of the park, approximately 40,000 visitors passed through the city. Within a year, this number had increased exponentially to 500,000. From 1940 to 1950, the cost of land in Gatlinburg increased from $50 to $8000 per acre.
The town's infrastructure is often pushed to the limit on peak vacation days, and must consistently re-adapt to accommodate the growing number of tourists.
Map of Gatlinburg Tennessee