5 Things You Didn’t Know About the History of Gatlinburg TN

downtown gatlinburg
November 9, 2022

Gatlinburg is known as a go-to vacation destination for many people. The rich nature scenery is very relaxing, and it provides a great hideaway to temporarily escape from the busyness of everyday life. Gatlinburg’s rich history played a big role in making it the beloved city that it is today. Here are 5 things that you didn’t know about the history of Gatlinburg TN.

1. The First Residents

A scenic photo of Gatlinburg in the mountains.

Long before tourists flocked to the city, Cherokee Indian hunters lived in what would become Gatlinburg and on the land in the Great Smoky Mountains. They hunted the animals on the Indian Gap Trail. Along with the Cherokees, European fur traders also used this trail. Later, Mary Ogle and her seven children came to Gatlinburg from South Carolina, making them the first official settlers! You can still see the cabin they built at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts campus in Downtown Gatlinburg.

2. Becoming Gatlinburg

Another piece of Gatlinburg TN history that you may not know is how Gatlinburg became Gatlinburg. In 1856, the city was named after Radford C. Gatlin, a man who opened up what was then one of the town’s two post offices. What you might not know is that Gatlin was referred to as “the most hated man in town.” These negative feelings were strong and Gatlin was actually run out of the town that he later named after.

3. The “Bud” Ogle Cabin

The Bud Ogle Cabin

Present-day Gatlinburg is known for its spacious cabins with numerous luxuries such as hot tubs. What you may not know is that cabins have been a staple in all throughout the history of Gatlinburg TN. The “Bud” Ogle cabin is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Roaring Forks Nature Trail. In the 19th century, Noah “Bud” Ogle built the cabin for his family. The cabin is actually made of two structures that share a chimney. It is nicknamed the “saddlebag” cabin. On the land surrounding the house, you can see an apple orchard as well as places where the family grew crops.

4. The Great Smoky Mountains’ Birthday

We all know that Gatlinburg is known for its crown jewel: The Great Smoky Mountains. A notable piece of the history of Gatlinburg TN is how old they are. The Great Smoky Mountains are estimated to be around 200 million and 300 million years old, making them one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The “age” of a mountain is primarily determined by the weathering in the rocks. The trees can also factor into determining how old a mountain is. One-third of the trees in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are over 100 years old.

5. The Peddler Steakhouse

A good way to preserve history is to renovate historical sites so that they can keep telling their story for years and years to come. If you choose to do this, you must take great care in preserving important aspects of the original structure. The Peddler Steakhouse did a great job with this. The present-day restaurant was originally a cabin built in 1958 by Charles “Earl” Ogle. It became a restaurant in 1976. You can see the preservation of history right before you even walk into the door as the building still has the cabin’s original stone chimney.

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about the history of Gatlinburg TN! On your next vacation, you should definitely explore the rich history of this great city. After a long day of learning, we can provide you with a comfortable place to kick back and relax. Explore all of our cabins and their amenities to decide which one is right for you!