Discover History at Cades Cove in Gatlinburg

04 Jul

Visit Cades Cove in Gatlinburg for a spectacular view of the Great Smoky Mountains while you discover the history of the area!

If you have never visited Cades Cove in Gatlinburg, it’s time for you to plan a day to enjoy the history and beauty of the Smoky Mountains!

Today, Cades Cove is a place for visitors to learn about the people that created their home in the mountains. An 11-mile loop road now surrounds the Cove so visitors can drive around the area and view all of the historic buildings. These are only a few highlights of the Cades Cove Loop Road, so make sure you pick up a brochure for your auto tour for full details of every historic landmark in the area. No Smoky Mountain vacation is complete without the Cades Cove experience!


In the early 1800s, Cades Cove became a pioneer settlement area, but was most popularly known as the Cove. In 1820, the State of Tennessee acquired the area from the Cherokee Indians. By 1850, the Cades Cove area was home to 137 households, holding nearly 685 people. Many individuals made their way to the West looking for new frontiers, so population dropped to approximately 260 people by 1860.

John Oliver Place

The Oliver family purchased land in Cades Cove in 1826. This home is one of many that still stands at Cades Cove. The home doesn’t feature much privacy because most of their time was spent in the main room. The small cabin could hold at least ten individuals. The people aimed to have more and more children to make work on the land much less strenuous.

John Cable Mill

Corn was an abundant crop and vital to the lifestyle of the pioneers. Since corn does not require much upkeep, it was an easy crop to grow that would serve many purposes. The John Cable Mill was not the first mill in Cades Cove, but it was an important aspect of the community at Cades Cove in Gatlinburg. The mill was powered by a waterwheel, so it could grind grain faster than a tub mill. The power unit was used for many operations, including a sawmill.

Primitive Baptist Church

Primitive Baptist Church was one of the churches that stood strong for many years, in Cades Cove. The church was organized in 1827, but was shut down in 1887 due to outside forces during the Civil War. The cemetery of the church is the burial place of the Oliver family members. On your visit to Cades Cove in Gatlinburg, you will see the historic church buildings and Primitive Baptist Church cemetery.

Life at Cades Cove in Gatlinburg

The pioneers were searching for land and wealth, but forces like war and weather were constantly fighting against them. Although many people were drawn away from Cades Cove due to the promise of jobs and money in other areas, some chose to stay. The first automobile made its way to Cades Cove in 1915. Over the next few years, people were driven away from the Cove as the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park began.

After spending the day at Cades Cove in Gatlinburg, your family may be looking for other things to do in the Smoky Mountains. Covering everything from places to stay and things to do, our website will help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountain vacation!