Thursday, September 22, 2016

Smoky Mountains History & Beauty

Just outside Cherokee, N. C., along the Oconaluftee River, the Park Service has recreated a late 19th century mountain farm with authentic log structures.
Before the first Europeans set foot in this part of the country, the Smoky Mountains were part of the vast Cherokee homeland.  The Cherokees lived in permanent towns, farmed the fertile river valleys, and used a far-ranging network of trails for trade, travel, and warfare.  As this was well-known Cherokee land, and the rough mountainous terrain, there were few outsiders prior to 1800.

Of course, the American Revolution brought many changes and the US government began taking over much of the Cherokee land for non-Indian settlers.  By the late 1830's, as part of National policy, most Cherokees were moved to the Oklahoma Territory.  Thus, the "Trail of Tears."

Many of the newcomers were of German descent and at least second or third generation Americans.  There were also many Africans brought primarily as slaves.

This is a very interesting part of our nations history and the development of this particular area from the mid 1800's through the early 1900's is one of great progress.  In the late 1920's the states of North Carolina and Tennessee began buying the land that they would deed to the nation to become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This meant that not only timber companies had to close but more than 1,200 families also had to sell their land and homes and relocate.

The Mountain Farm Museum is part of an effort to preserve some of the cultural heritage of the Smokies.
These buildings, most dating from about 1900, were moved from their original locations throughout the Smokies to this site.  They give us just a glimpse into the past.
 One of the buildings, the John E. Davis farmhouse.
John Davis began building this house around 1899 and spent almost two years finishing it for his family.  He hewed and split every log.
 Now, this would have been a mighty large tree.
 Another interesting side trip was to Clingman's Dome.  At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi.

The drive was spectacular.
 And the views breathtaking.
 I loved watching and photographing this soaring hawk.
 Our next stop was Gatlinburg and I can't wait to share some highlights from there next time.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! What a gorgeous part of the country, Elizabeth! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Have a great weekend.

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  2. WOW!!! OH MY GOODNESS....SUCH beauty! Seriously it is all just spectacular. And your pictures might as well be post cards. How wonderful to see this all up close and personal. What a trip that must have been. So glad you were able to enjoy it! God's masterpieces just really can't be compared can they? Enjoy your week-end!

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  3. Oh, I so love the Smoky Mountains! Beautiful pictures, and I can't wait to see Gatlinburg! Thanks so much fora sharing Libby.

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  4. That is so interesting. What a beautiful area!

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  5. You're not too far from me! :)
    Did you happen to see/hear any elk? You were really close to them; sometimes they are at Oconaluftee.
    If you need more places in the area to visit, check out my GSMNP tab at the top of my blog, just under the header!
    mary-lifeinasmalltown.blogspot.com

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