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Exploring the Abandoned Town of Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Elkmont Campground, located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, is not your typical camping destination․ It is unlike any other campground you’ve ever visited, as it is home to an abandoned town that holds a fascinating history․

The History of Elkmont

Elkmont was established in the early 1900s as a summer resort community for wealthy Knoxville residents․ The area quickly grew٫ with luxurious vacation homes popping up throughout the town․ What started as a small getaway soon became one of the most vibrant and popular communities in the region․

Despite its prosperous years, Elkmont faced a series of challenges that ultimately led to its abandonment․ The construction of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1920s led to the formation of a federal park encompassing the area․ Many of the residents were forced to sell their properties to the government, resulting in the decline of the town․

Exploring the Abandoned Town

Today, the remains of Elkmont offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore a forgotten town frozen in time․ As you wander through the overgrown trails and dilapidated buildings, you can vividly imagine the life that once thrived here․

One of the main attractions of the abandoned town is the Elkmont Historic District․ This area includes the Appalachian Clubhouse, which served as the social hub of the community, as well as several other well-preserved structures․ The Appalachian Clubhouse was a place where residents gathered for social events, including dances, card games, and theater performances․

Another notable feature is the Wonderland Hotel, an iconic landmark of Elkmont․ While the original hotel burned down in 1925, it was later rebuilt and served as a popular destination for tourists until its closure in the 1990s․ Today, all that remains of the Wonderland Hotel are its foundation and a few scattered pieces of rubble․

Guidelines for Visiting

If you’re planning a visit to Elkmont Campground and the abandoned town, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind⁚

  1. Respect the historic integrity of the town․ Do not remove or disturb any artifacts or structures․
  2. Stay on designated trails to protect the fragile environment․
  3. Come prepared with sturdy footwear, as the terrain can be rugged and uneven․
  4. Bring insect repellent and sunscreen, as you’ll be spending time outdoors․
  5. Leave no trace and take all of your garbage with you when you leave․

Visiting Elkmont Campground and the abandoned town is a truly unique experience that offers a glimpse into the past․ It’s a reminder of the transient nature of human existence and the ways in which nature can reclaim even the most thriving communities․ So, take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the captivating history of Elkmont․