While Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a very modern vacation destination, it’s not hard to find remnants of its days as a pioneer town in the 1800s. Both Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are home to beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings that provide a window into the region’s fascinating history. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Top Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to three historical sites in Pigeon Forge TN and the Smoky Mountains.
When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was officially dedicated in 1940, most of the families who lived within the borders of the park were forced to relocate. The most prominent exception to this rule was the Walker family. Margaret, Polly, Martha, Louisa, and Hettie Walker were unmarried sisters who insisted on living in a traditional log cabin that was built by their grandfather in the 1840s. The national park ultimately decided to grant the Walker sisters a lifetime lease for their home, where they remained until the last surviving sister passed in 1964.
Today, visitors to the Little Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can see the Walker Sisters Place for themselves. The cabin is accessible via a 2.6-mile roundtrip hike that begins at Metcalf Bottoms. Along the way, hikers will also see the Little Greenbrier School, a one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1882 by the Walker sister’s father and other local residents.
The Old Mill is the most famous of all the historical sites in Pigeon Forge TN. Located in the heart of the city next to the Little Pigeon River, this iconic grist mill was built in 1830 next to an iron forge. While the iron forge’s furnace smelt locally mined ore into pig iron, the grist mill was used by Smoky Mountain farmers to grind grain into flour. In 1841, the area’s first post office was established at The Old Mill and the community became officially known as “Pigeon Forge” – a reference to the iron forge on the Pigeon river.
Although the iron forge was dismantled in the 1880s, The Old Mill is still in operation today! Visitors to The Old Mill Square can purchase the grist mill’s freshly ground flour at The Old Mill General Store and enjoy delicious food prepared with the mill’s products at The Old Mill Restaurant and The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille.
Visited by over 2 million people each year, Cades Cove is the most popular area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to its stunning mountain views and spectacular wildlife, this gorgeous valley is well-known for its collection of well-preserved historic buildings. Before the establishment of the national park, Cades Cove was home to a thriving community with hundreds of residents.
Highlights of Cades Cove include the John Oliver Cabin (the first cabin built in the valley), the Primitive Baptist Church, the double-cantilever barn at the Tipton Place, and the John P. Cable Grist Mill. All of the valley’s historic landmarks are conveniently located along Cades Cove’s 11-mile, one-way loop road.
When you stay with Top Cabin Rentals, you can visit all of these amazing historical sites in Pigeon Forge TN and the Smoky Mountains. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 8 bedroom cabins, we are guaranteed to have the perfect property for your escape. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!