How the 1900s Logging Boom Shaped the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains boast a gorgeous landscape, but they also have a rich history that dates back to the 1900s. Read on to learn some of the events that shaped the Smokies into the incredible destination it is today. You can learn even more about the history that shaped this beautiful place by booking a tour with Cades Cove Heritage Tours and one of our several expert guides. We love sharing the story of the Great Smoky Mountains with visitors! Check our availability here.

Early Settlers

White settlers started arriving to this Cherokee Indian Territory in the late 1700s and early 1800s. These settlers lived of the land – hunting, fishing, raising livestock, and growing crops to feed their families. They also used timber from the area to build their homes and fences. While they were utilizing the land’s resources, they were self-sufficient and not depleting the supply in massive quantities. That was all about to change.

Logging Boom

The lumbering industry arrived at the Great Smoky Mountains in the early 1900s. Loggers moved into the community to take advantage of the vast supply of lumber in the area. The area went from a small rural community to a booming town in a short amount of time. Suddenly, the people living there became reliant on manufacturing, stores filled with goods, and a cash-dependent system. Loggers were rapidly cutting down trees, and the forests started disappearing.

National Park Preservation

The preservation of land and the movement to establish National Parks began in the 1890s. The movement made its way to the area in the 1930s and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 in an effort to preserve the land and its natural resources.

Over one thousand residents had to move out of the area, leaving ghost towns behind. Farm buildings, mills, schools, churches… There are approximately 70 historic buildings still preserved today, comprising the largest collection of historic log buildings in the East. The widest variety of historic log buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains park can be found in Cades Cove.

Park Development

In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established as a federal work project to conserve land across the United States. There were approximately 4,000 workers assigned to 22 camps in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They created trails, roads, fire towers, and other structures to support the preservation efforts in the area.

Your Tour of the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains have a rich and interesting history. Our experts at Cades Cove Heritage Tours are well-versed in the stories of the area and would love to guide you through the beautiful landscape of the Smokies. Contact us today to reserve your spot this fall!

(Historical Facts Reference:

P.O. Box 268
Townsend, TN 37882-0268


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