Elkmont, Tennessee - Abandoned

Elkmont, Tennessee

Elkmont, Tennessee is located in the Little River valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was a pioneer Appalachian community, a logging town and resort.

The Little River Lumber Company established Elkmont in 1908 as a base of logging operations for the Little River and Jakes Creek region. The company began selling plots of land in 1910 to wealthy hunting and fishing enthusiasts from Knoxville, who established the Appalachian Club just south of the logging town.1

The Wonderland Park Hotel was constructed on a hill overlooking Elkmont in 1912. Wonderland was purchased in 1919 by a group of wealthy Knoxville businessmen, who 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. Through the lifetime lease deal, the title transferred to the National Park Service when the last resident of the building died. In 1952, the leases were converted into 20-year terms, last renewed in 1972. in 1992, the National Park Service refused to renew the lease, opting instead to demolish the hotel and cottages. The cottages and Wonderland Hotel were vacated.

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 in 1994.2 In 2005, the Wonderland Hotel collapsed; the annex burned on April 19, 2016.3

In 2009, the National Park Service announced plans to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and 18 cottages, but a lack of funding has hampered the efforts.

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4 Comments

  1. Some time in years 11989-1991 me and my wife stayed at the wonderland hotel and ther was a young couple ceberlating there wedding anniversary . They had been married at the hotel. I think there was some discussion about the lease not being renewed. There was a park ranger giving a presentation on thewild life in thr park. There was warm fire in the large fireplace and the guest sat around it with great conversation with each other. We had the end room as the only room with a bath room all other room were community shared. Tom and Joyce beck Waynesboro tn.

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