Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

Why do they call them the Smoky Mountains

The Cherokee called the mountains Shaconage – place of the blue smoke.

The rising mists are produced by the forest itself.

Water is pulled from the soil up into the plants and trees and eventually rises from the leaves, evaporating into the air.

The water cools and forms the blue-tinged mists you see rising over the mountains, eventually forming clouds and falling back to the earth to repeat the cycle.

The mountains, in many ways, retain the charms that made them attractive to the National Park Service.

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Amusement, Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, History, Museum

Tennessee Museum of Aviation

Airworthy “Warbirds” are the foundation of this 50,000 sq ft facility, located on the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville. This unique location helps to bring aviation history to life with unscheduled flight demonstrations.

The front part of the museum includes thousands of historic artifacts, while the back part is a 50,000 sq ft hanger packed with vintage aircraft.

Aviation enthusiasts will appreciate the professionally designed Exhibit Gallery, containing artifacts tracing aviation and military history, uniforms, aircraft models and hundreds of aviation memorabilia. It is interesting to watch the different flight uniforms evolve.

In the exhibits area features a “Wave Wall” which traces significant milestones in the history of aviation from before the Wright Brothers. There is piece of the USS Arizona.

The 35,000 sq ft Aircraft Hangar features aircraft engines and cockpits, military vehicles, and magnificently restored vintage “Warbirds.” The collection of trainers, fighters, helicopters, jets and amphibious aircraft will definitely satisfy the interest of any “Warbird” fan. Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or just have a passing interest in flight, this is a must-see while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. Travel off the beaten path and explore the fascinating realm of flight at this hidden treasure.

Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Staying Active

MOUNTAIN TIME: GLENN CARDWELL OF THE SMOKIES

By Arthur “Butch” McDade

Butch and Glenn
Arthur “Butch” McDade, left, and Glenn Cardwell, right, outside of Sugarlands Visitor Center in 2014. Photo courtesy of Arthur McDade.

In Greenbrier there’s a path that leads to an old homesite. The house is gone but you can still spot foundation stones and a stone springhead nearby. And, if you really look around, you can find an old automobile frame.

I had the honor of hiking to this homesite several times with Glenn Cardwell. The last time was in 2014, two years before his death. Hiking there meant a lot to Glenn; it was where he entered this earth on a cold Christmas Eve in 1930, four years before his birthplace and the surrounding forest became part of the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As we hiked, Cardwell would talk and point things out. He had a soft voice and was one of the kindest folks you’d ever meet (I once asked his wife Faye if Glenn ever got mad—she said, “No.”). He told me everything about his life, from his humble beginnings in Greenbrier to the 34 years he spent as a national park ranger in the Smokies.

A sense of place permeated Cardwell’s life—he never forgot where he came from. He attributed this to his mother “Pearlie,” who took him into the forests of the Smokies on long walks along Hills Creek. Cardwell attended school, but he believed he got his real education by following his mom in the woods. She was an “herb doctor” familiar with healthful native plants.

Glenn Cardwell
Glenn Cardwell on a footbridge in Greenbrier during a hike with Arthur “Butch” McDade in 2014. Photo courtesy of Arthur “Butch” McDade.

His mother’s teachings served him well when he became a ranger in the Smokies in 1961. With his knowledge of the woods, he became a go-to authority on plants and animals. In the Smokies, he mentored well over one hundred park rangers during his career and guided thousands of park visitors on nature walks. He directed visitors to family cemeteries and assisted on “lost person” cases. He became a “ranger’s ranger” and was later honored by Great Smoky Mountains Association as one of the 100 most influential people in the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cardwell once mentioned that after he left this job in 1995, he intended to retire, but his retirement didn’t quite go as planned. In 1998 he became mayor of nearby Pittman Center, Tennessee, a position he held for nigh on 18 years. He also authored two history books on the area. He stayed busy, he said, because “if you rest, you rust!”

Cardwell was a man of the Smokies. He never wanted to leave these mountains, turning down jobs from other parks. He only temporarily left while in the Navy during the Korean War and while attending the University of Tennessee. He said that while in the Navy, half-way around the world, he vowed that if he ever got back to the Smokies he’d never stray farther than the local co-op store in Sevierville. And to cement his attachment to the area, he married his childhood sweetheart and they lived permanently in Emerts Cove, only three miles from where his mother brought him into this world.

On my last hike with Cardwell, I asked what the most memorable thing was that his mother taught him. He said he learned a lot from her, but she gave him a saying he remembered to that day. She’d told him, “Glenn, once you fall in love with nature, you’ve got a friend for life.”

Arthur “Butch” McDade worked 30 years for the National Park Service at several sites, ultimately retiring from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He currently works as a freelance writer.

I just love to hear stories of people who lived in the Great Smoky Mountains before it was the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I had the honor to meet Odis Clinton Abbott when at the primitive church in Cades Cove. I also really enjoy the Walker Sisters story.

Attractions, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

Gregory’s Cave

Gregory’s Cave is along the Cades Cove Loop.

Most caves are formed when limestone and sandstone fracture and weather over time. Gregory’s Cave is one of the largest caves in the Cades Cove area. The entrance to the cave is 10 feet wide and 4 feet tall. The cave is primarily a single large passage that ranges from 20 to 55 feet wide and 15 feet tall. There are quite a few side passages in the cave as well. In one of the side passages, there are pick marks along the wall, which indicates mining activity happened in the early 1800s.

Gregory Cave was actually the only cave in the national park that was developed as a commercial cave. In 1925, the cave was opened to the public by the Gregory family, who still lived in Cades Cove at the time. There were planks in the cave to walk across certain areas, and they installed battery powered lights. Gregory Cave was even used as an emergency shelter that would hold a maximum of 1,000 people when people still lived in the Cades Cove area. The cave was still open to the public in 1935, but when the national park bought the property from the Gregory family, it was closed. Today, the cave entrance is securely closed to the public.

Finding Gregory’s Cave

The John Oliver Place in Cades Cove.

You may be wondering how you would find the entrance to Gregory’s Cave. First, you have to drive down the Cades Cove Loop! Then, you’ll stop and get out of your vehicle when you reach John Oliver Cabin. There is a dirt road with metal bars in front of it to block cars, and you should follow it. On the right, there are two picnic tables, and you’ll continue going forward. Then, you’ll see the cave on the right around trees with boxes on them.

Taken from Visitmysmokies.com blog

Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

History of the Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the United States, and it’s no wonder! It’s stunning views and rich, cultural history make it a must-visit attraction! Here are a few more things you’ll want to know about the history of the Smoky Mountain National Park.

1. The Smokies are estimated to be anywhere from 200 to 300 million years old!

This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth! Prehistoric people also occupied these mountains, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that human activity started to affect the natural course of events.

2. Many branches of the AAA were interested in developing roads so they could drive through the beautiful scenery.

3. The Land Wasn’t Easy to Buy

Joining the National Park System was far from easy for Great Smoky Mountains. Even with the money for the park in hand, the land for the park was still difficult to buy. This was mainly because it was owned by hundreds of small farmers, and a handful of large timber and paper companies.

4. Former Political Boosters Helped Raise Funds

The government was not allowed to buy land for national park use, so former political boosters stepped in to raise funds. By 1928, a total of $5 million had been raised, and The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund matched that amount.

5. The Civilian Conservation Corps Developed the Park

Many of the roads, hiking trails, and other structures, were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was established as a federal work program in 1933. It provided employment and education to young men from all over the country during the Great Depression. The CCC worked until 1942, when World War II shut the program down. Learn more about the CCC and the history and culture of the Smokies on the National Park Service website.

Parts taken from https://smokymountainnationalpark.com/