Gatlinburg Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Nestled in the valley of the Little Pigeon River's West Fork and surrounded on three sides by the majestic National Park, Gatlinburg has evolved from a rural hamlet to a thriving gateway community.
Settled in the early 1800s, it was first named White Oak Flats for the abundant native white oak trees covering the landscape. It is believed a middle-aged widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, was the first official settler here. She came with her family to start a new life in what her late-husband described as a "Land of Paradise" in East Tennessee. Soon after, such now familiar family names as McCarter, Reagan, Whaley, and Trentham took up residence along local streams and hollows.
In 1854, Radford C.
As a self-sustaining community, Gatlinburg changed little in the first one hundred years. When the Civil War erupted, some locals joined the Union, others the Confederacy. But, in general, the mountain people tried to remain neutral. Although only one Civil War skirmish was fought in Gatlinburg, countless raids were made by both sides to gather vital resources needed to sustain the war effort. As with much of the South, deprivation and hardship persisted long after the war.
In the early 1800s, education came to the area in the form of subscription schools, where parents paid for each child's education. It was not until 1912, when a public settlement school was formed in Gatlinburg. Created by the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, the school not only provided academic and practical education, it also contributed to a rebirth of Appalachian arts and crafts and the "cottage craft industry" movement.