Elkmont, Tennessee was a pioneer Appalachian community, a logging town, and resort in the Little River valley in Tennessee.
The Little River Lumber Company established Elkmont in 1908 to serve 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 had established the Appalachian Club south of Elkmont. 1 The Wonderland Park Hotel was constructed on a hill overlooking Elkmont in 1912, which was acquired by a group of wealthy Knoxville businessmen in 1919 who established the Wonderland Club. 1 Together, with the Appalachian Club, the area evolved into a vacationing hotspot for the wealthy.
In 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed and most of the cottage owners at Elkmont were given lifetime leases. Through the lifetime lease deal, the title of the property would automatically transfer to the National Park Service when the last resident of the building died. Those lifetime leases were converted into 20-year lease terms in 1952 and were renewed in 1972. The National Park Service opted to not to repeat the leases in 1992 and the Wonderland Hotel and cottages were vacated.
The hotel and cottages were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Elkmont Historic District in 1994. 2 After years of abandonment, the Wonderland Hotel collapsed in 2005; the annex burned on April 19, 2016. 3 The National Park Service announced its intent to restore the Appalachian Clubhouse and 18 cottages in 2009, but a lack of funding has hampered the efforts.
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- United States. Department of the Interior. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. N.p.: National Park Service, 1994. National Park Service. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. Article.
- United States. Department of Interior. Elkmont Historic District GMP Amendment and EIS. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. Article.
- Good, Whitney. “Historic building in Elkmont area of Smokies destroyed by fire.” WATE [Knoxville] 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.