Virtual Field Trip – Cades Cove – Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Several people had mentioned Cades Cove to us before we left for the Smoky Mountains.  I wanted to try and make time to drive through the settlement, but we weren’t able to do it until we were on our way out of town.  We had to go through it quicker than we would have liked, once we got there.  The day was sunny and beautiful and the drive into Great Smoky Mountain National Park was beautiful, too.    I like the barren look of the landscape in winter and we took a lot of pictures along the way.

We spent a lot of time throwing sticks in the water and watching the river rushing over the rocks.




The mountain views changed throughout the day, as the clouds came and went.  There were deer out in an open field, but it was fenced in by barbed wire.  This didn’t deter some people from trying to get in there and pet the deer.  We read in our Cades Cove guide that this settlement was once inhabited by up to 700 people…pioneers and farmers.

Proof that I was there…

We were able to get pictures of the deer and wild turkeys, but there were no black bears to be seen where we were driving.

The inhabitants of Cades Cove were evicted from the land after the state of TN seized it to make it part of the National Park.  The last resident to resist this was John Oliver, and he fought in court for 6 years before abandoning his home in 1937.  The government intended to allow the forest to reclaim the land, but they were convinced to allow the older buildings to remain.  There were more modern structures, but they were removed.

These pictures are of Primitive Baptist Church.  The members of this church continued to meet here up until the 1960’s, against the wishes of the park service.  This structure would probably not be here, if the congregation had not continued, as the park service wanted to ‘develop the land’ here.

The interior of the church was completely wood.  I hated to see the graffiti. I am very big on history, preservation and restoration, and it makes me angry to see someone’s name and the date written on a 200 year-old wooden church pew in black Sharpie.

Ryan stood in the pulpit and a man walked in and said, “Hey!  Whaddya say preacher?  What are you preachin’ about today?”

View of the cemetery out of the Primitive Baptist Church windows.

Actually, this was originally just the “Cades Cove Baptist Church”, but there was a split in 1839, due to a disagreement about whether or not missions were authorized by scripture.  13 people left the Cades Cove Baptist Church to form the Cades Cove Misssionary Baptist Church and the remaining congregation changed the name as you see here to the Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church.  Besides these, there is also a Cades Cove Methodist Church, but the Primitive Baptist Church would “remain the dominant religious and political force in the cove, their meetings interrupted only by the Civil War”.(Wikipedia)

Derek in the woodshed…

I was born in the wrong time period.  I absolutely could live here.

This was our last picture as we were quickly leaving Cades Cove. We were driving on a one-way road in a caravan with other cars, and I handed Emilee the camera as she opened the side door of the van to take this picture.  Ryan and I want to come back and go hiking here…we hated to leave.

Thanks for joining us on our virtual field trip!


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