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Past Being Erased From Elkmont At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sneed cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park/NPS

The Sneed cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be preserved/NPS

Demolition sounds will be heard in the Elkmont area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park as crews begin removing ten structures that were deemed no longer significant to the historic district.

The removal of these structures, located near the former Wonderland Hotel, marks the end of major demolition work in the Elkmont area that began in 2010 as specified in the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement among the National Park Service, Tennessee State Historic Office, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Later in 2018, park crews will begin preservation of the Sneed, Smith, Higdon, and Swan cabins in the Daisy Town area.

“I am proud of the work that we’re continuing in Elkmont as we move forward with both the preservation of the rich cultural history of the area and the restoration of unique, natural communities,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.

Weather permitting, demolition work will be completed by April 30 for the ten structures located along an administrative road leading to the former site of the Wonderland Hotel. The administrative road will be closed to pedestrian use during the demolition work to accommodate heavy equipment. Crews have already salvaged usable items from the structures for use in preserving historic structures in the park. The demolition work, contracted to Street Legal, will be accomplished by lifting the structures from the infrastructure so that foundations and chimneys will be preserved in place if possible.

Servants quarters from the old Wonderland Hotel in Great Smoky Mountains National Park/NPS

The servants quarters from the old Wonderland Hotel in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be demolished/NPS

In a separate project, park staff plan to begin the stabilization work of the four Daisy Town structures this fall. Workers will repoint masonry features, replace rotted wood, paint, and make needed repairs to windows, doors, and roofs. The Daisy Town area, Elkmont Cemetery, Spence Cabin, Appalachian Clubhouse, and Elkmont Campground will remain open throughout this work. Campers should expect noise throughout the day, but all quiet hours will be observed.

From 1992 through 2008, the park entered into a series of public planning efforts including an environmental impact study that led to the 2009 MOU and an amendment to the park’s General Management Plan defining the disposition of the 74 remaining structures in the Elkmont Historic District. The EIS defined a full range of possible actions in seven alternatives for management of the historic district with the expected impacts and projected costs of each alternative.

The alternatives ranged from full removal of all buildings as described in the park’s 1982 General Management Plan to incrementally greater preservation and reuse of the buildings for a variety of purposes with costs estimated between $1.4 million to more than $30 million. As specified in the decision documents, 19 structures were designated to be preserved for public visitation, while 55 structures were identified for demolition. To date, two structures have been fully restored and four have been preserved. In addition, removal work in the Society Hill and Millionaires’ Row section has been completed.

Smith cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park/NPS

The Smith cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be preserved/NPS

List of Structures to be removed near the former Wonderland Hotel:

• 58-2b Paine
• 58 Wonderland Annex
• 58 Servant Quarters
• 58-la May or Moore
• 58-3c Preston
• 58-7g Vandergriff
• 58-4d Bowman Brown
• 58-5e Hicks
• 59-6f McMillan/Keith
• 58-9i Richards or Brandau
• 58-8h Tate, Beaman, & Tucker

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