…continuing with the recent visit by Laurie’s sister Bonnie, Bonnie’s husband Bill and their granddaughter Avery.
The day after our trip to Tellico Plains and Bald River Falls, we headed out US Hwy. 321 in the direction of Cades Cove, a special place within the Smoky Mountains National Park that features wildlife viewing. It was a nice day…still comfortable in the morning…and Avery loves animals!
So the big question was…would we get lucky? There have been times that we visited Cades Cove and we didn’t see any wildlife.
Our drive on the 11 mile long Cades Cove Loop road started out on a positive note! It seems that all young girls…or most women for that matter…love horses. A portion of the riding stables horses were chilling and relaxing next to the fence by the road. That made for 3 happy females! One horse in the second photo was just trying to scratch an itch…and he looked content.
Europeans settled Cades Cove ca. 1818 but the Cherokee had established a settlement here much earlier. It was known as “Tsiya’hi”, or “Otter Place”. The European name, Cades Cove, was derived from a Cherokee leader from Tsiya’hi named Chief Kade.
As we continued our drive we got lucky, spotting this buck standing out in one of the Cove’s meadows. This early in the year his antlers were still in velvet…but I think that he was an 8-pointer.
By 1850 the population of Cades Cove grew to 671. The size of farms in the Cove ranged between 150 and 300 acres. Residents were fairly self-sufficient but relied on nearby Tuckaleechee Cove for dry goods and other necessities. A post office was established in the Cove in 1933. A weekly mail route was established in 1839. By sometime in the 1890s, residents even had phone service after locals built a phone line to Maryville Tennessee.
I’m sure that life in Cades Cove was challenging for the residents but my, oh my, what scenery they woke up to and labored near each day!
Despite the presence of 3 different churches in the Cove, life wasn’t always peaceful. The 2 Baptist churches were the result of a schism… Moonshining was a money maker for some residence but anathema for others.
In 1921, the Gregory’s still was raided by the Blount County sheriff. The Gregorys blamed the Olivers and the day after the raid, 2 of the Oliver’s barns were burned, destroying a significant portion of the family’s livestock and tools. Then one of the Gregorys was assaulted by 2 of the Sparks family and, in return, 2 members of the Sparks family were shot on Christmas Eve 1921.
The Gregorys were convicted of the barn burning as well as of felonious assault…but they were pardoned by Tennessee’s Governor after 6 months…and he personally escorted them home. (The Gregorys must have produced some high quality moonshine!)
When we drive through the cove, we seen honeymooners and wedding parties being photographed in the Cove…so we took these photos of Avery and her grandparents!
Cades Cove wasn’t given up easily by its residents. Cades Cove put up the greatest resistance of any of the mountain communities in the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Originally, they had been assured that their land wouldn’t be included. But in 1927, with the approval of funds to buy land for the park, the Park Commission had the power to seize properties within the park via eminent domain. Death threats to key officials followed as did lengthy court battles. Defeated, John Oliver was the last resident to abandon his property on Christmas Day in 1937.
There are a number of historic buildings still standing within Cades Cove that are maintained by the National Park Service. The photo above shows the Becky Cable House (1879).
Other buildings in the Cove include: John Oliver Cabin (1822 – 1823); Primitive Baptist Church (1887); Cades Cove Methodist Church (1902); Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church (1915 – 1916); The Myers Barn (1920); Elijah Oliver Place (1866); John Cable Grist Mill (1868); Henry Whitehead Cabin (ca. 1895); Dan Lawson Place (1840s); The Tipton Place (1880s), and Carter Shields Cabin (1880s).
· Parishioners from the Primitive Baptist Church defied the National Park Service and that organization’s plans for many years, continuing to meet at their church in the Cove until the 1960s.
Here are a couple more views of this beautiful place. Amazingly, the park and the loop drive wasn’t packed with tourists on this spectacular morning. Cades Cove is the single most popular destination for visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its scenery, well preserved historic structures and its display of wildlife draws over 5,000,000 visitors every year!
Of course, as regards the wildlife, traffic flow, time of the day, timing on your drive, ability to spot animals along the route and luck are all critical for visitors.
So…at least for Avery’s sake, did we get lucky?
Yes we did! Laurie captured several photos of a nice size black bear feeding in the brush fairly close to the road. An adult male American black bear can weigh up to about 500 lbs. and a female can reach about 375 lbs. Most of our previous bear sightings here have been at long distance or up in a tree.
You’d think that they’d be seen more often! After all, about 1,500 black bears live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That equals about 2 bears per square mile. That’s the reason that we often have local reports, especially early in the spring when food is scarce, of bears in town and near homes…just looking for something to eat.
That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave