horses in Cades Cove

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Cades Cove History

Historic barns in Cades Cove
December 21, 2018

Cades Cove is known for its stunning scenery and the variety of activities available for visitors to enjoy. However, this special destination in the national park is also rich in history. Read on to discover 6 things you might not have known about Cades Cove history, and next time you visit, you can point out these little-known facts to all of your friends and family!

1. It Wasn’t Originally Called “Cades Cove”

woman biking in cades coveOver the centuries, Cades Cove has been known by several different names. In 1797, there was a Cherokee settlement here and they referred to it as “Tsiya’hi,” which means “Otter Place.” However, when the European settlers took over, the name was changed to Kate’s Cove after the Chilhowee chief ’s wife, Kate. The name was finally changed to “Cades Coves” in memory of the Tsiya’hi leader, Chief Kade.

2. Its Entrance Was Changed Years Ago

The entrance that we use today wasn’t made until 1934 when the national park was established. Visitors and residents alike used to come and go to Cades Cove by 5 unpaved roads. Today, those roads are most likely hiking trails being used by visitors of the national park.

3. Secrets About Historic Buildings

Many of the historic buildings surrounding the John P. Cable Mill are not in their original location. The Gregg-Cable House, built by Leason Gregg in 1879, was actually first located on Forge Creek Road. The blacksmith shop was also built after the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established. Therefore, it does not represent a traditional structure that one might have seen in the times of the early settlers!

4. It Was a Challenge to Obtain the Land

Before the national park was established, the states of Tennessee and North Carolina had to first purchase the land from the families living there. Some residents welcomed the efforts to buy land for the park and willingly sold theirs. However, there were families that resisted, resulting in some of them signing life leases, which allowed them to live out their lives on their land. They did have to adhere to restrictions on hunting, trapping, and timber cutting.

5. It’s the Most Popular Destination in the National Park

cades cove yearling bearAs a whole, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park brings in more than 10 million visitors every year, with Cades Cove accounting for over 2 million of those people. Cades Cove consistently earns the title of the most visited destination in the national park, and it’s easy to see why! From hiking and biking to picnicking and wildlife viewing, there are endless ways to enjoy the scenic beauty and rich history here.

6. Maintained to Look Like the Early Days

As you travel along the Cades Cove Loop Road, you’ll see several churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and more. You can pick up a tour booklet, available at the entrance of the loop road for more information about these historic buildings. For years, the national park has maintained Cades Cove to look like it did in the early days of the settlers. So, when you visit, you can take a trip back in time!

These are just some of the interesting facts you might not have known about the history of Cades Cove. Be sure to check out the complete guide to Cades Cove history to learn more about its fascinating past!

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