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Friday, November 09, 2007

Walking Tour of Historic Gatlinburg - NOT!

We were really looking forward to taking the walking tour of historic Gatlinburg. As you all have found through reading the blog, this is something that Randy & I really enjoy. Well, we had a great walk through the town (and worked off a little of the great breakfast we had!) but didn't find a lot of the history of Gatlinburg. We were pretty disappointed.

Although there were many spots outlined on a map, with descriptions of each spot, we couldn't find most them! The majority of the "historic spots" no longer existed. Instead we'd find a modern hotel, or store, or . . . nothing. There wasn't even a marker detailing what used to be there. We were pretty frustrated by the time we
had tried to find the fourth or fifth spot. So, we gave up and just enjoyed the walk up and down the main drag of Gatlinburg. Along the way, we did find a couple of historic buildings and made note of them

Gatlinburg was originally known as White Oak Flats. But, in 1854, an "outlander" from Georgia, named Radford Gatlin, came to town and opened its second general store. When the town's post office was established in Gatlin's store in 1856, the town's name was changed to Gatlinburg. Gatlin and his wife were very colorful citizens and caused lots of controversy during their stay in town. And although Gatlin left town under duress, abandoning his property, the town's name has remained Gatlinburg.

The first historic building we came upon is now known as Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts. The school now holds many sessions of classes in all types of media; glass blowing, textiles, woodcarving, pottery, etc. It was originally founded as the first school in town in 1912 as an endowment from Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. Although this group was a "fraternity," it was actually a national women's organization that had a long standing tradition of helping those in need.

The other historic building we found is Ogle's Cabin, the first home built in Gatlinburg. William Ogle bought the site in 1802, cut and hewed the logs for the
cabin and then returned to South Carolina to get his family and bring them to Gatlinburg. He had found "The Land of Paradise" as he told his family. Unfortunately, Mr. Ogle got sick and died in 1803, before he could get his family here. But, his wife, Martha, persevered and brought the family to Gatlinburg in 1807. Following directions William had given her before he died, they found the site and the hewed logs and completed the cabin as he would have. The community of Gatlinburg then grew up around this first family home. The Ogle family continued to live in this cabin until 1910. The land was later sold to Pi Beta Phi and the cabin was moved to the school's campus.

Gatlinburg is much like Pigeon Forge in that you can find whatever you need on the main parkway. Many gift shops, restaurants, ice cream places and fudge! But, we were good - we just walked by all of it. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we enjoyed being out in it. Just shows even if the day doesn't go as planned, there's always something good to be found in it.

I did get a picture of bears, though! They are statues, but hey! They are bears!! :)

We're going to have a quiet weekend, just relaxing at the campsite. Sunday afternoon will be spent getting ready to break camp on Monday morning. We'll be heading to Nashville and spending a week there.

Hope all of you have a great weekend, too, spending it just as you'd like. Take care of one another and drop us a line once in awhile. Until the next time . . .

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