The Bales Cabin (top right)
The Ephraim Bales Cabin in Sevier County, Tennessee. Source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Archive, circa 1935.

The Cook Family Cabin (top left)
A side view of the Daniel Cook Cabin in Haywood County, North Carolina. Source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Archive, circa 1935.

The Baxter Cabin (bottom)
Willis Baxter Cabin in Cocke County, Tennessee. Source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Archive, circa 1935.


Homestead Log Cabins at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The sound of axes rang through the Little Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1999. It was a sound that hadn't been heard in the area for more than 140 years < the sound of a log cabin being built in the wilderness.

The historic Daniel Cook cabin, which was dismantled and stored in a barn for safekeeping 25 years ago, was reconstructed piece-by-piece last year. It was the flagship project for the 1999 Restoration of America's Log Cabins program and one of four historic log cabins that was restored in the Park with help from Aurora Foods, Inc., makers of Log Cabin syrup through the National Park Foundation.

The Ephraim Bales cabin on the Roaring Fork motor nature trail near Gatlinburg, Tenn., and the Willis Baxter cabin off the Madron Bald trail near Cosby, Tenn., needed repairs on wood-shingled roofs and stone chimneys. Roof replacement was also completed for the Ferguson cabin near Maggie Valley, NC on the Cataloochee Divide trail. All four cabins were built in the mid 1800s.

Carefully selected materials, tools and techniques were used to ensure that the finished cabins remain true to their original 1850s construction. To guide Cook cabin reconstruction, the Park's professional restoration team used line drawings and historic photographs. Occasionally, old timers stopped by to offer advice and share family stories of life in the valley.

The one-room Cook cabin with its two-sided porch is one of the Park's oldest and finest. It was dismantled by the Park in the 1970s after it was partly destroyed by vandals. As part of the drive to retain authenticity, the Cook cabin is sited on its original homestead stone foundation in the remote Little Cataloochee Valley.