While we were in Maggie Valley for a week, we went to Cataloochee Valley in the Smoky Mountain National Park in hopes of seeing some Elk. Unfortunately, it was pretty hot that day and as such, you have to be there in the early morning hours or near dusk to see them... still, the scenery is beautiful and there are a few remaining historic buildings, and the drive up there is... well, exciting at times, to say the least. Though the not-always-reliable-at-high-altitudes Google navigation showed a different color for a couple sections of the road, it wasn't evident to me that the winding mountain road up eventually changed to a stretch of around 3 miles of gravel... until we got to it, of course, at which point it became exciting. Only about a lane and a half wide in many places, barely a 2 lane road at best and with no guard rails (of course), it was a little challenging mostly because of the surprise factor, as well as the sometimes abrupt appearance of another vehicle coming around a curve in the other direction, including people in small motorhomes - some of them rented so they were potential rookies but in the end, a lot of fun. And of course, the scenery was spectacular.
Five-point turning the van out of the tiny parking space at the rented cabin
getting the van in and out of the long, uphill driveway was a challenge as well, had to keep it up to speed or risk the rear wheel drive only getting stuck - almost happened when we first got there, had to back up and get a good run at it a couple times before learning what it took
so we're on our way up to Cataloochee, enjoying the twisty mountain road until we come to this...
actually one of the wider sections in the picture on the right
Last edited by ancientdad; 10-09-2019 at 02:08 PM.
It was a homestead, not sure how many years previous they may have lived there in a different house, but this one was built in 1903 and was lived in until the feds made the property the National Park and pushed them out. Inside the front door was a hand-written note (full page) from the then-79 year old woman who was the last Caldwell to live there, written in 2015 when she visited last with her family. They moved to Waynesville after having to leave the house. I have more pics but got frustrated a couple nights ago after uploading 15 more and having them come out as links, and 3/4 of them got corrupted on the way so I deleted the post. I'll try again, I took pics of the interior that were interesting
Last edited by ancientdad; 10-11-2019 at 10:57 AM.
This is a disaster. I spent the half hour trying to re-create what I had previously done and in the end, it did the same thing. I give up, tired of trying.
If the links still work, you can view them that way
Yes, they had telephones... but probably not up there at the house then. Check out the 3 digit number in the newspaper ad below. One room of the house had been wallpapered over top of the previous wallpaper that was newspaper from the era. Of course, with no oversight or supervision, people who visited the house in recent years likely tore off pieces as keepsakes for themselves as there were only small patches left on every wall and every room was defaced by idiots carving or writing their names and other stupid, unimportant stuff on the walls
We were talking to a park ranger by the barn across the stream from the Caldwell house when a car drove up, and the people told him they had found a dog wandering and were concerned about it because it looked to have not eaten for some time. Turns out the ranger knew of situations like it that had happened previously, dogs used for tracking bears would sometimes get separated from the group and get lost. The poor thing looked to be starving, and I remembered I had about a third of a bag of beef jerky in the van so I got it for the people and the dog gobbled it down. The ranger told them to go to a small outbuilding on their way out of the area where there were a couple of pens specifically for that purpose, and the dog's owners could easily find the dog with the GPS trackers he had around his neck along with his collar. Didn't get a picture of the dog, but he was adorable. Interesting stuff, the kind of thing you'd never know about if you didn't live there
It's so wrong, Gov. Taking people's land.
But, that's exactly how all aboriginals feel about it, too.
So true... here and everywhere in the world at one time or another, long ago by brute/brutal force. I left wondering why they couldn't have been allowed to live out their current generation's lives there at the time before having to leave, but it was done in the early '30s (1934 I believe). Even the park ranger said they tore down far too many of the settler's homes and barns unnecessarily, should have preserved more of them.
Maybe I'll try again with more pictures... I want to share them but the strange behavior of the site sometimes makes me crazy