Elkmont: The Ghost town of the Smokies by, Chet Guthrie

Established in 1908 by the Little River Lumber Company, Elkmont was a logging town connected by railroad and at the center of an untouched forest. Trains coming off the Smokey mountains would use the community as a place of rotation so another locomotive could transport the timber for cutting.

Old home appliances litter each house along the Daisy Town District from an old bathtub to a 1950s washing machine to a set of doors falling against a building's withering walls.

A Booming Economy:

Over the next 11 years the area became a get-a-way for Knoxville and Sevierville's elite and Elkmont turned into three districts: Daisy Town, Millionaires Row and Society Hill.

Many of the buildings are in disrepair at Elkmont while some are in the process of being restored.

At one time, Elkmont was the second largest town in the area right behind Sevierville.

In 1911, wealthy hunters and fishermen interested in the dense forest of the Smokies formed the "Appalachian Club" which became Daisy Town.

Several old documents cluttered the floor in one of the abandoned buildings which included blueprints to the cabins, Smithsonian magazines and newspaper Ads from 2002.

In 1912, Charles Carter was given land to build the Wonderland Hotel on the top of Elkmont's ridge. 10 cottages were built on the trail to the hotel which opened in 1919. This tract of land became Millionaires Row.

Much of the plumbing had had fallen through the foundation while some fixtures lay there as if a looter had tried to carry them out.

The Great Smokey Mountains become a National Park:

In 1925 the Little River Lumber Company ceased operations and in the process stripped the land of 750 million board feet of wood. One year later, all of the land was sold to the GSMNP.

As time progressed the railroad bed was removed and paved into a highway.

Renovation: 19 other buildings are being renovated for preservation.

A Land Lost in Time:

After a 20 year lease, the last resident left in 2002.

The GSMNP wanted to demolish the buildings, but came into conflict with the National Register of Historic Sites and a political argument was waged on whether the cabins would be torn down or preserved.

56 other buildings lay in complete disrepair at Elkmont after years of political indifference.

In 2009 a plan was pitched that both organizations agreed on. 19 of the buildings would be renovated while 56 others would be dismantled.

These buildings still hold a story of a time when the Appalachian mountains was a new frontier.

Demolition begins in March 2017.

Created By
Chet Guthrie

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