Wordless Wednesday

Historic Elkmont in the Smoky’s #WW

Welcome, Kittens & Dawgs to my humble abode! Last Thursday I shared some of the Smoky’s wildfire landscape scarring photos that I took on the day after Christmas. We felt the need to get out. I reckon to release a little cabin fever.  It was a beautiful day. The mountains and foothills communities were bustling with more activity than I cared for but we enjoyed the day nonetheless.  We headed toward Cades Cove in the park with the hopes of taking a short walk in the old logging community of Historic Elkmont in the Smoky’s.

We used to walk the trail (not this one) that runs beside the river with the kids when they were at home.  It’s been a few years since we’d ventured this way and we were surprised to find the park service has developed the area more.  One of the improvements made is expanding the paved parking which is really nice.

Although the temperatures were pleasantly mild, it was very breezy and with my ear bothering me I couldn’t chance at being outdoors too long.  I really wanted to linger along the trail snapping pictures and imagining life in this community in its heyday.

One of the cabins caught my attention and I really wished I had snapped a shot of the long flowing curtain rustled by the wind which made me think of ghosts. Is the old town haunted? Perhaps by ghosts or maybe just memories of a lost past.

You can read about the history and Elkmont’s early beginnings in the 1900s by three Pennsylvanians who come to the area looking for virgin timbers.

As I said earlier, I’m eager to come back for another photo-op of this old ghost town and to enjoy a lovely nature walk.  Perhaps, I’ll pack a picnic lunch for us to enjoy, too.


Join me tomorrow for another peek through my lens with my newest edition of Skywatch Friday & Celebrate the Small Things.

Have a fototastic day.






I born and raised in the Appalachian mountains of southern WV. I was a child bride when I married my high school sweetheart in 1979. We moved to Knoxville, TN to begin our life. Determined to prove nay-Sayers from our community wrong, I completed my education and went on to earn an A.S. in computer programming. From 1983-1987, I worked as a computer system’s manager. That’s a glorified title for someone who trouble shoots and maintains system back-ups. After the birth of our first child in 1988, I took early retirement. What have I been doing for the last 25+ years? I am proud to say, I am a SAHM and for most of those years I home-schooled our three children from K-12. Now, the nest is empty.


  • Handmade Jewelry Haven

    Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures. I learned something new reading about the history. I love driving through overgrown spots by the highway and wonder how they must have been in their day. Like the ‘Whistle Stop Caft’ 🙂
    Found your blog on Wordless Wednesday and hope to explore it more in the coming days.
    Hope you can visit my blog also as I am newly back in the blogging world after taking a few years off to raise my little ones and could use a comment and/or a follow!

    – Lisa

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Lisa, thank you for stopping by for a visit. There’s magic in old communities like Elkmont and I am drawn to these lost times by their remains. How can one not be? I’m going to head over to see you now and I hope you’ll join me again next week if not before!

  • Myke Todd

    Now you have me in for an afternoon of trail traversing, which I have not done in ages.

    You could make splitting wood with a broad ax, sound as appealing as a game of badminton, at a family reunion, in Autumn… You are just that good, Cathy.

    • Cathy Kennedy

      You crack me up, Myke! An afternoon of hike along an easy peasy trail on a beautiful day sounds excellent but there aren’t too many days like that in the winter and with my ear still bothering me then this will have to wait until…who knows spring! lol Thank you for visiting and putting a smile on my face. 🙂

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Betty, That’s awesome, you’ve visited the Smoky Mountains National Park! I hope whenever you get a chance to visit again, you’ll take in some of the areas you missed your first go-around. Thank you for stopping by! 😉

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Kelleyn, You wouldn’t be scared to walk around Historic Elkmont during the day. It’s a very peaceful place and it’s a great place for a nice easy hike in nature. That’s one thing we like about this place. The old logging road is an excellent trail for those who don’t want to venture a rigorous bumpy path. Thanks for popping by to see me!

    • Cathy Kennedy

      AJ, The mountains will be ok. They are scared but in time nature will heal the land. With the leaves gone, you can see some of the cabins and condos that burned down driving through the mountains if you look for them. That’s even sadder for me because I think of the people who lost loved ones in this disaster. I hope y’all get to visit again soon. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Amy, we didn’t try to get inside any of the buildings but from a distance, it looks like you could get in. I think there are signs posted saying to stay out, though. They are in bad shape and some look like they could fall in on you at any time. It’s still a very nice place to photograph and to enjoy the outdoors. Thank you for visiting!

  • Jill Foley

    Thanks for visiting my blog – I live near Portland, OR and we don’t get much snow in the NW corner of the state – but we love to travel to central OR and play in the snow.

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Jill, Ahh, we don’t get much snow here, either. Often times when we visit the Smoky’s in the winter, we’ll find snow in the upper elevations even if it’s just a little in the shadows. The best time to go is right after it snows and as long as the main highway across the mountain isn’t closed then it’s fun to traverse the mountain in the ole Camry sleigh bound for Newfound Gap or Clingmans Dome (they close Clingams Dome road off during the winter but you can park near the entrance and walk the road). I recall one year we were up there after it snowed and we saw another family there. The kids were carrying snow back to their pickup to take off the mountains with them. They were from Florida and it was their first time to see snow. We had to laugh to ourselves because we knew that snow would be gone by the time they reached the bottom of the mountain. 🙂 Well, all that snow in central Oregon is beautiful. It looks like a winter wonderland!

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Patrick, yes you definitely need to visit the Smoky’s at least once! I’m amazed at the number of people we get from all over the country, Canada, and occasionally we’ll spot foreigners who are smitten with our mountains. All the while, I’m thinking, “Gosh, aren’t we blessed to live in such a fabulous place where we can visit it just about anytime we want.” 🙂

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Teresa, It’s hard to not enjoy our time spent in the mountains regardless of the weather. It’s just a great place to be – smack dab in God’s country as I like to call it. 😉

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Kristin, I used to want a cabin in the mountains but after the recent wildfires it’s made me rethink that possibility and the older you get the harder it is to get out to go where you need or want to go in the winter. I reckon we’ll stick with city living. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Karren, the mossy rock wall is what grabbed my attention, too. I love stuff like this and I can’t resist snapping a picture! 🙂 I tell you what’s amazing is to see how some of the split rail fences stand the test of time. Thanks for popping over for a peek!

  • Mandy & Justin

    It is interesting reading about Elkmont. I didn’t even know of it’s existence until this post. I don’t know that I believe in ghosts, but I’m sure it was eerie seeing the curtain blowing in the wind like you saw. Hope you are able to find time to go on that nature walk and enjoy the picnic you want to do. 🙂

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Mandy & Justin, I’m not sure which is visiting but I appreciate that you made time to pop over. You’re not too far from the Smoky’s. Perhaps you’ve visited the park before and if you have then you’ll find Elkmont on your way toward the Cades Cove community. I’m sure we will find an opportunity to do a return visit. That’s one of the beauties with living near the Appalachian mountains, it’s only a short drive away. Thank you again for including me in your day, and I hope you’ll decide to join me again!

  • messymimi

    Exploring places likes this leaves me with mixed feelings. Part of me loves the history, part of me is sad that it’s over.

    • Cathy Kennedy

      I think everyone gets that bitter-sweet sense when visiting places like this but that’s part of the changing times. At least this place is preserved for others to stroll through time to imagine life way in the…(I hesitate because I know it was a hard time) good ole days.

  • Thomas Anderson

    Hi, Cathy!

    I enjoyed reading the history of Elkmont, its logging industry and its railroad on that Smoky Mountain vacation page. It was interesting to follow the boom to bust story of the town which grew in size and popularity as a weekend hunting and fishing retreat for male residents of Knoxville and neighboring communities. Learning of the area’s beauty and serenity, womenfolk were enticed to accompany the sportsmen on their getaways. More comfortable accommodations sprang up around the existing clubhouse in the form of cottages and a hotel and Elkmont became an even more popular destination, a mecca for East Tennessee’s social elite. Eventually there came the divisive debate over establishment of a national park or preservation of the area as a national forest. The park concept won and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 under a compromise agreement that allowed homeowners to continue to live on land owned by the federal govt. by means of long-term leases. Long-term does not mean forever, and those leases and their extensions eventually expired. The fear has always been that the pristine land would be scarred and polluted over the years by a multitude of visitors. I hope that has not been the case in the Smoky National Park.

    Thank you for the pictures of this lovely spot you and DH found in your travels and for the history lesson, dear friend Cathy!

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Tom, The Smoky’s is generally a clean park. There have been talks for years about banning vehicles into the park except for tour buses but I think that decrease the flux of visitors. If such a thing ever came to pass then we’d loose our freedom to come and go in the park, which means we wouldn’t be visiting the mountains. I pray that this never happens. I hate it that folks lost their homes and jobs in the Smoky’s but I’m thankful we have such a beautiful place to escape to. Thanks for taking time visit Historic Elkmont this morning, my friend!

  • Arlee Bird

    I’d like to explore more of Elkmont. I drove around there a few years ago with my mother and sister but we didn’t get out to explore since my mom wasn’t able to walk much. I’d read about Elkmont’s old buildings though. I was there back in the seventies and visited the Wonderland Hotel and other buildings. I guess the hotel was still in operation at the time though I didn’t actually stay there.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Cathy Kennedy

      Lee, We didn’t notice the Wonderland Hotel when we were there after Christmas but I read online that it no longer stands. We did see it many years ago, though. I reckon it was either the late 80s or mid-90s. I may have taken pictures with my old film camera but I can’t swear to it. I really need to scan my old photos to the computer for easier storage and sharing. Perhaps your next trip home, you and your siblings can explore Elkmont a bit. It’s really a nice place to take a walk and the main trail (old logging road) as you may recall is rather large and easy to traverse. I recall many years ago, we took a walk with the kids late one summer and on our return trip to the car we spied a rather large Timber Rattler stretched across the road. Needless to say, we did not attempt to cross its path. We turned around, went back up the road for a bit before coming back down and by the time we did, it was gone. I really hate snakes! Anywho, thanks for visiting today!

  • Birgit

    I like ghost towns and have visited only a few but I often wonder how bustling it was in its heyday. You never know if there are spirits wondering around but I bet there is a cemetery near by.

💕I love comments! Have a purrfect day & thanks for stopping by!💕