ELKMONT

NAME: Elkmont
COUNTY: Seier
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 4
CLIMATE: Snow in winter, Great in Summer or Spring
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Summer or Spring
COMMENTS: No residents. Owned by the Smoky Mountain National Park and is a campground. Very near the ghost town community of Cades Cove that is also a part of the park service. Near Townsend, TN which is an old sawmill town that now has a lot of TN history, especially railroad. Take 321/73 (Little River Road, which used to be RR grade) out of Townsend to the Elkmont Campground turnoff.
REMAINS: Graveyard, Wonderland Hotel, Hotel Annex, many deserted homes and summer cabins, old bridge, hunting lodge.

The Little River Logging Camp began near the end of the 1800's and the town began as a rip roaring lumber town harvesting the mountains of their usuable trees and transporting them down the Little River through the use of Splash Dams until they got to the mill at Townsend. The Little River Railroad Company, that later transported the logs to the mill, was used extensively by logging operations and also brought tourists up to Elkmont where the well-to-do started to build Summer cottages. When the logging operations ceased the RR was removed covertly because the owners did not want to continue to transport tourists from Knoxville which was not turning a profit. With the RR removed and the camp abandoned the politics of the situation created a hastily built road on the RR grade and the town continued as a resort until it was bought in the 30's for the New Smoky Mountain National Park. Resisting residents, vacationers and the Wonderland Hotel owners continued to work out leases until all expired in the 1990's and all closed down. Now there is an on going controversy about what to do with all the buildings and homes. The Park service wants to tear them down however they are not allowed since many have attained Historical Landmark status and cannot be touched. They are in heavy disrepair and are accessable but beware. This controversy will be ongoing for some time. There is a great book available by Olden Press called: "Last Train To Elkmont". Written by Vic Weals, it tells the story of Elkmont in personal stories and many pictures. Submitted by: Mike Woodfin

The following link will describe the lives of the lumber towns of the Great Smoky Mountains.


Elkmont
Courtesy Mike Woodfin


Elkmont
Courtesy Mike Woodfin


Elkmont
Courtesy Mike Woodfin


These river rocks were cemented into the top of the stairs to the old Wonderland Hotel. The remaining stones clearly show they once spelled out Wonderland. Mike Woodfin


Appalachian Clubhouse
Mike Woodfin


Deserted Home
Mike Woodfin


Deserted Cabin # 15
Mike Woodfin


Gorgeous Deserted Swiss Chalet demonstrates the level of society that once had homes in Elkmont.
Mike Woodfin


Deserted Home
Mike Woodfin


This bridge is not accessable any longer
Mike Woodfin


One of the many homes deserted in the area
Mike Woodfin


Another deserted cabin
Mike Woodfin


This is the entrance to the old Cemetery. To find take the first left upon entering the campground area. It is not marked.
Mike Woodfin


Old Cemetery
Mike Woodfin


This row of deserted cabins and houses are the more modern remains of the tourist town.
Mike Woodfin


The huge hotel, now damaged by fire, was one of the most popular spots in the area and was open until the lease ran out and the hotel closed.
Mike Woodfin


This porch was lined with many white rocking chairs where guests would sit and enjoy the clean mountain air.
Mike Woodfin


Rear view of Hotel Wonderland
Mike Woodfin


These steps rose from the RR tracks to the Wonderland Hotel. The tracks continued up the mountain to the terminus of the Appalachian Club.
Mike Woodfin


What is now left of the Wonderland Hotel
Courtesy Michelle Garner

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