Elkmont, Tennessee, located in the Little River valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was a pioneer Appalachian community, a logging town and resort.
In 1908, the Little River Lumber Company established Elkmont as a base of logging operations for the Little River and Jakes Creek region. Two years later, the company began selling plots of land to wealthy hunting and fishing enthusiasts from Knoxville, who established the Appalachian Club just south of the logging town.1
In 1912, the Wonderland Park Hotel, a resort hotel, was constructed on a hill that overlooked Elkmont. Wonderland was purchased in 1919 by a group of wealthy Knoxville businessmen, and established the Wonderland Club. Together, with the Appalachian Club, the area evolved into an elite vacation area.1
In 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed – the first in the United States, and most of the cottage owners at Elkmont were given lifetime leases. When the last person in the structure would pass away, the lease would transfer to the federal government. In 1952, the leases were converted into 20-year terms, renewed in 1972. But in 1992, the National Park Service refused to renew the lease, and under the park’s General Management Plan, the cottages and hotel would be demolished.
In 1994, the Wonderland Hotel and several dozen of the cottages were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Elkmont Historic District, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.2 In 2005, the Wonderland Hotel collapsed.
In 2009, the National Park Service announced plans to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and 18 cottages in the Appalachian Club region, which are older and more historically significant.