These days, Gatlinburg, Tennessee is known and loved for its resort-inspired atmosphere, amazing scenery, and seemingly endless fun shopping options to enjoy. However, it’s also a destination rich in history that’s well worth exploring when travel plans bring you this way. Learning more about this “Gateway to the Smoky Mountains” promises to be an exercise that’s thrilling and informative! For starters, many visitors are interested to know that before it acquired the name Gatlinburg, this destination at the foot of Mt. LeConte spent a lot of time in the 19th century being referred to as White Oaks Flats. Learn more about Gatlinburg history below!
Early Inhabitants and Settlers
Long before settlers came and established a community in this area, Gatlinburg was home to a local First Nation Tribe. Settlers began making their way into the region in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This included many veterans of the Revolutionary War. It’s thought that the name White Oaks Flats was established during this timeframe because of the abundance of White Oak tree that covered the lush landscape.
Among the first settlers to the area hailing from South Carolina was the Ogle family. It didn’t take long for the family to become a driving economic force in the area, and today, modern Gatlinburg still hosts the family’s original home as well as many landmarks by the same name. The first church in the area was constructed in 1835 and was given the name the name White Oaks Baptist Church. First schools were going up around this time as well.
A Changing Name
White Oak Flats continued to prosper through the first half of the 19th century. Hotels, stores, and post offices continued to pop up, providing jobs and options for residents. In 1854, a man by the name of Radford Gatlin moved into the city. He got to work opening up a second area general store as well as a post office. While his business savvy was undeniable, many people found Gatlin controversial due to his confederate support. Despite the tensions his presence raised, his contributions to the city’s growth went celebrated and the town’s name was eventually changed to Gatlinburg. The name remained long after the man himself was asked to leave the city.
Book Your Getaway Today
It’s rich history, fun atmosphere, and beautiful surroundings are all great reasons to make travel plans that bring you to Gatlinburg. When you’re ready for an adventure, the professionals at Great Smoky Mountains Cabin Rentals are here to help. Reach out today to learn more about our many rental options in the area!