By Michelle Shocklee
|Cades Cove, photo from https://www.oldcreeklodgegatlinburg.com/
When I look at this picture of Cades Cove, I immediately get a peaceful feeling deep inside. The tranquil beauty of God's handiwork is breathtaking, and I simply can't get enough of it. Unfortunately I don't live here, but I enjoy visiting as often as I can!
Have you been to Cades Cove? If you haven't, you may not know about this sweet spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And even if you have visited this area of the park, you may not be familiar with its history.
|John Oliver cabin; built 1822 (Wikipedia)
During that time, European settlers began to arrive, including John and Lurena Oliver, the first permanent white residents in the cove. John built a sturdy cabin that still stands in the cove. Their first winter was extremely difficult, and the Olivers relied on help from their neighbors, the Cherokees, to survive.
|Cades Cove Methodist church (Wikipedia)
Everything would change, however, when plans for a new national park were put into place in 1926.
|Cades Cove gristmill (Wikipedia)
11-mile loop with stopping points along the way at old cabins, barns, gristmill, and churches. Wildlife, including black bears and deer, are often spotted in the now-empty fields and pastures where crops and farm critters used to reside. It is said that some of the houses are haunted by residents who refuse to relinquish their homes to the government, even in death.
Michelle Shocklee is the author of several historical novels, including Count the Nights by Stars, winner of the 2023 Christianity Today Book Award, and Under the Tulip Tree, a Christy Awards and Selah Awards finalist. Her work has been included in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and blogs. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two grown sons, she makes her home in Tennessee, not far from the historical sites she writes about. Visit her online at www.MichelleShocklee.com