Basket Making at the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center

ArtWalk_4853_t607Townsend is a place that visitors come throughout the year for a number of reasons whether it be to visit and explore Cades Cove, swim at the “Wye” during the summer months or attend one of the many festivals like the town’s Spring Festival & Old Timers Day. One thing that Townsend offers throughout the year are a number of classes. One of the more popular ones is the basket making classes held every February and April in town.

For anyone interested in learning more about the skill of basket making, join renowned basket maker Karen Kenst for a series of basket making classes at the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center during the upcoming months of February and April.

If her name sounds familiar, it’s because Kenst has been a regular at Townsend festivals, as well as events throughout the Smokies. Her basket making skills have drawn in people from all over the country who come to the Great Smoky Mountains and her work has been featured at events and in the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community.

Please call Karen at 865-983-3352 for registration information.

Dates and times for basket making classes with Karen Kenst:


14 Beginner Market Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
16 Beginner Market Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
21 Advanced Easter Williamsburg Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
23 Advanced American Celebration Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
4 Intermediate Tree Note Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
6 Intermediate Tree Note Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
11 Advanced Lake Cattail Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
27 Advanced Christmas Tree Carry All Basket — 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

2013 Townsend Winter Heritage Festival

2013 Winter Heritage Festival Schedule

Presentations and programs throughout Townsend and the national park, celebrating the region’s cultural history.

Thursday, Jan. 31
5-7 p.m. Townsend Winter Heritage Festival Kickoff & Reception
Join us for the Winter Heritage Festival Kickoff & Reception at the Townsend Artisan Gallery located at 7843 East Lamar Alexander Parkway. Refreshments provided by the Townsend Artisan Gallery and the Blount Partnership. Call 865.983.2241 to RSVP.

Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont (9275 Tremont Road, Townsend, TN 37882, 865-448-6709)
Friday, Feb. 1
9 a.m. Do you know what to look for to identify trees and shrubs in the wintertime? Come along with Tremont Director Ken Voorhis into the forest and discover a number of leafless characteristics that will help you identify woody plants. The Smokies are a great place to explore in the wintertime! Meet at Tremont visitors center at 9 a.m., Friday, Feb 1 — prepare to be outside and on the trail.Tremont is located in the national park. Take Hwy 73 to the Townsend Wye, turn right toward Cades Cove, then take first left onto the road to Tremont. Tremont institute is 3 miles down this road, on the left. The visitors center is the first building, on the left, right after you cross the bridge.

Smoky Mountain Visitor’s Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882)
Friday, Feb. 1
The Townsend Artisan Guild presents a photography tour for beginning to intermediate photographers using basic cameras to SLRs for $25.After several presentations on camera functionality, composition, and lighting, the participants have an opportunity to apply those principles with the guidance of Guild photographers at the Smoky Mountain Visitor’s Center.RSVP to Susan Cooper at or 865.448.0859
9:00-9:15 a.m. Welcome, Introduction, Coffee and muffins provided
9:15-10:30 a.m. How the Camera Works for Your Creative Vision
10:30-11:15 a.m. Elements of Composition: What Rules to Break
11:15-noon Using Light to Define the Subject
12:00-12:30 p.m. Lunch
12:30-2:00 p.m. Photograph in the Buildings at the Heritage Center
2:00-2:30 p.m. How to use Black and White to Improve Visualization
2:30-3:00 p.m. Q&A, Wrap Up
Susan Cooper has studied with nationally known professional photographers and captures images that reflect the natural world around us: landscapes, close-ups, wildlife and abstracts.Rex Gullufsen’s photographic experience includes weddings, documenting tours for choral performances, still lifes and natural surroundings. He captures stories through composition, texture, color and light.Ken LaValley has captured award winning images of youth sports, professional sports, concerts, weddings, and wildlife. He takes of advantage of light and luck to capture an image of one split second.

David Rudd has a long history of working in the wet darkroom and producing outstanding black and white images. His diligent study of the digital age and photographic techniques compliments his eye for unique compositions

Photography Exhibit and Artists Reception: Laurel Valley Resort (702 Country Club Drive, Townsend, TN 37882) is hosting an artist’s reception to which the participants and other visitors will be invited. Friday, Feb. 1 from 4-6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1
11:00 a.m. Hike to Elijah & Polly Oliver’s place in Cades Cove (1.5 hours)
Meet at Abrams Falls parking lot (half way around Loop Road). Dress for the weather. Subject to cancellation for inclement weather.Join Cades Cove Park Ranger Mike Maslona for a walk to Elijah & Polly Oliver place in Cades Cove. Learn about the family and see the only park historic site that has all the support buildings still there and available to see.Also, learn how the park’s historic preservation team maintains and repairs over 100 historic structures throughout the park, and how park partnerships with groups help to preserve the cultural history of the park.Email or 865.448.4104 to RSVP
Saturday, Feb.2
10:00 a.m. Hike the original back road to Walker Sisters House (4.5 hours)
Meet at Metcalf Bottoms. Bring waterproof boots, water, lunch and snacks. Rain gear advised.Join Janet and Mark Snyder as they lead this moderate hike which takes you by the home sites of family and friends of the Walker Sisters. We will visit the home site of the only sister to marry. A greater appreciation of the Little Greenbrier Community will be achieved.Call 865.448.1183 to RSVP.

CCPA has family exhibits on the second floor at the Heritage Center both days, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., where former Cades Cove residents and descendants are on hand both days to visit with people about their lives in the Cove. The exhibits contain photographs, family albums and artifacts for viewing by the public.

Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center (123 Cromwell Drive, Townsend, TN 37882)
Friday, Feb. 1
9:00-9:45 a.m. Joel Zachry – “How to Get Eaten by a Bear – Things you should know”
Join naturalist and author Joel Zachry for an informative “show and tell” narrative on safely traveling in the backwoods of our Southern Appalachians. As he provides a historical perspective on the bear and its life cycle he will share factual information on the past 100 years of human fatalities. In addition, Zachry will recant his own experiences, some funny missteps and others with serious outcomes, from backpacking the Smokies since 1975, completing the 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail and guiding hikers in Alaska for twenty-five years.
10:00-11:00 a.m. Betty Boone Best – “A granddaughter tells about the war in Blount County”
Betty Boone Best was born in Blount County and graduated from schools at Happy Valley, Lanier, Maryville College and the University of Tennessee. She taught language and Tennessee history at Walland School before retiring from William Blount High School as a librarian. She is a member of the Blount County Genealogical and Historical Society and is presently editor of the Blount Historical Journal. Her hobbies are family and local history research and writing.
11:15-12:15 David Ledbetter – “Little River Railroad”
David Ledbetter is a member of Cades Cove Preservation Association, having as president, vice president and board member. He currently serves as coordinator with the maintenance supervisor for Great Smoky Mountains National Park where he plans projects and workdays in the park and leads a full moon walk in Cades Cove once a month. A native of Miller’s Cove, the Ledbetter family settled in the White Oak Sinks and lived there for many years before moving out in 1929. David is the great grandson of Matthew Manuel (Bud) Ledbetter who was the first of his line to settle in the White Oak Sinks.
11:15-12:15 David Ledbetter Jr. – “Fire Towers From the Smokies”
David Ledbetter, Jr. (Davey) is the son of David and Paulette Ledbetter and is the great great grandson of Matthew Manuel (Bud) Ledbetter who settled in White Oak Sinks. Davey has hiked to the White Oak Sinks and seen where his family farmed the area for many years. Davey enjoys hiking and especially finding old home sites. He is currently mapping these areas and putting it together with his family names.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Judy Myers Johns & Verna Burchfield Myers – “Aunt Becky Cable”
Judy Myers Johns grew up in Cades Cove and is a descendant of John and Lauraine Oliver, from Russell Gregory (Gregory Bald), Robert Burchfield and John P. Cable. She lived in three houses in Cades Cove without electricity, learned to cook on a woodstove and did “washing” in a gasoline powered washer with a wringer for the rinse tub. Her parents (Hugh and Verna Burchfield Myers) and grandparents (Charlie and Mae Shuler Myers) farmed the Cove and raised cattle. Judy worked as a historical interpreter at Cable Mill, became a National Park Ranger, left to work in nuclear security before becoming a Vice President of Emergency Preparedness for international work with a fortune 100 company.Verna Lee Burchfield Myers was born on Mill Creek in Cades Cove in Oct. 1932 as the second of three children. At a early age the family moved to Townsend and then to Maryville as her father sought employment at a diary farm and then the Aluminum Company of America. In 1948 she married Hugh Myers and moved back to Cades Cove where they farmed and ran Cades Cove Riding Stables until 2009. Verna is very in-tune with her heritage and “regrets not taking an interest” in that heritage until later in her life. Verna has fond memories of Cades Cove and takes time to document old family photos and short stories that have been passed down through the years.
2:45-3:45 p.m. Allen Coggins – “An armchair tour of the Smokies: From Sugarlands to Clingmans Dome”
Allen Coggins is a freelance writer and part-time subcontractor with Oak Ridge Associated Universities. His presentation today is based upon his nearly decade long experience as a Smoky Mountain tour bus guide. He is author of the book, Place Names of the Smokies, which was published by the Great Smoky Mountains Association in 1999. His latest book, Tennessee Tragedies: Natural, Technological, and Societal Disasters in the Volunteer State, was just published by the University of Tennessee Press.
4:00-5:00 p.m. Panel Discussion: Former residents of Cades Cove
Saturday, Feb. 2
9:00-9:45 a.m. Joel Zachry – “Special Creatures of our Smokies and Southern Appalachians”
Join naturalist and author Joel Zachry as he shares some of our region’s most Fascinating creatures through his years of observing and photographing Smokies flora and fauna. For this presentation he goes beyond the ability to imply capture the organism but to also explain interesting facts about how each survives in the wild and coexists with others in its habitat. As a career biologist, Zachry will share his views on favorite landscapes, wildflowers and mammals that make our national park a special place.
10:00-11:00 a.m. Betty Bales & Becky Thompson – “Dinner on the ground”
Betty Bales is a native Tennessean who lives in Maryville and is a registered nurse with Blount Memorial Hospital. Betty is the granddaughter of John and Lilly Cooper Whitehead, descendants of Cades Cove. She enjoys researching the history of her Smoky Mountain Heritage, working with women’s ministries and serving in the mission field both locally and in South America.Becky Thompson is very proud of her Smoky Mountain Cades Cove heritage in the Whitehead and Cooper families. She is often found taking pictures and exploring the many trails, churches and heritage sites in the mountains.
11:15-12:15 Missy Tipton Green – “Tuckaleechee Cove”
Missy Tipton Green was born and has lived all her life in Blount County, and descends from the first land grant owner in Cades Cove, William “Fighting Billy” Tipton. She has penned three books, two being co-authored with Paulette Ledbetter. She enjoys researching the history of Cades Cove and Blount County, and genealogy. She is a charter member of the Cades Cove Preservation Association, serving on the Board of Directors for 11 years, past secretary, past treasurer, and past co-director of the Cades Cove Museum.
12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. Larry Sparks – “Tom Sparks – The Spencer Field herder”
Larry Sparks is a Cades Cove native, one of twelve children born to Asa and Amy Burchfield Sparks. His presentation is about his grandfather Tom Sparks, a former owner of Spence Field, where he herded livestock for several years. Sparks’ ancestors were among the first to own land and live in the Cove. His immediate family was forced to sell their land with the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1930s, but although most neighbors moved out, his family remained in the Cove as leaseholders until 1960. He serves on the board of the Cades Cove Preservation Association, and is a member of the First Families of Tennessee as a descendant of Col. John Tipton. He writes and presents Cades Cove history.
2:45-3:45 p.m. Bernard Myers – “Myers Town”
Bernard Myers was born to Golman and Viola Burchfield Myers of Cades Cove, living there until the age of nine attending the Cable School for one year before it closed down; he finished school at Townsend High School.
4:00-5:00 p.m. Panel Discussion: Former residents of Cades Cove

Smoky Mountain Visitor’s Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882)
Saturday, Feb. 2
The class consists of the history of dowsing, what to expect from their visit and my experiences using the rods for underground objects (water, graves, pipes, etc.). We will demonstrate the dowsing rods and forked stick with each visitor is given a set of dowsing rods to try what they have learned. The class continues outside, weather permitting, to locate water and a trip to the cemetery if they wish.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Charlie Monday – “The Art of Dowsing: Do you have the gift?”
2:00-3:00 p.m. Charlie Monday – “The Art of Dowsing: Do you have the gift?”

Smoky Mountain Visitor’s Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882)
Saturday, Feb. 2
12:00-2:00 p.m. Live Bluegrass music will be performed
3:00-4:00 p.m. Live Bluegrass music will be performed

A homecoming of former residents of Cades Cove, to be held Sunday, Feb. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at Big Valley Resort, 7056 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend. The Big Valley Resort is on the right just after the four-lane highway starts in Townsend. Turn right at the motel just past the porta-potty yard and drive to the clubhouse at the end of the road. Light refreshments will be served.

Smoky Mountain Visitor’s Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882)
Feb. 1-2
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (A Postcard History)
Author Adam H. Alfrey will be on hand both days to visit and sign copies of his new book, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (A Postcard History). Drawing from public and private collections of vintage postcards, Alfrey, curator of exhibitions at the East Tennessee History Center, illustrates how a rallying cry for preservation, pleasure and profit sustained a successful grassroots campaign to create Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States.

2013 Townsend, Tn Calendar of Events


Jan. 31-Feb. 2: Winter Heritage Festival in the Smokies. An event celebrating the human history, natural beauty, and cultural traditions of Townsend, Cades Cove, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Guests can enjoy a variety of presentations, storytelling, music, walks, exhibits, and tours—at the Visitors Center, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, and other businesses and organizations around Townsend. Townsend Winter Heritage Festival


Feb. & April: Basket Making with Karen Kenst. Join Karen as she instructs on the fine art of basket making. Check out the schedule and register.


March 1-16: Smoky Mountain Quilt Show

March 17-31: Woodcarver’s Show

March 22-24: Smoky Mountain Quilter’s Road Show


April 15-20: Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival. Hosted by the Townsend Artisan Guild, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, and the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. This interactive fiber arts event connects the community with fiber arts activities.  The festival will include Border collie sheep-herding, sheep-shearing, classes and workshops, arts exhibitions, educational demonstrations of fiber processes, spinning, weaving, needlecrafts, dyeing, hands-on projects with children and adults, Fiber Arts Market and more. Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and Smoky Mountain Visitors Center in Townsend.


TownsendStageNPTMay 4-5: Townsend Spring Festival and Old Timers Day. A heaping helping of your favorite bluegrass music, a Young Pickers Talent Contest, arts and crafts, Appalachian skills, wildflower walks and garden tours, storytelling, BBQ and other good food at the town’s annual Spring Festival and Old Timers Day. Townsend Spring Festival and Old Timers Day

May 9-10: BTA Class (Information coming soon)

May 14: Tourism Reception (Information coming soon)

May 17-19:  Smoky Mountain Highland Games. Maryville College. A celebration of Scottish Heritage at the foot of the Smoky Mountains with traditional games, a gathering of the clans, Scottish dance, music, and athletic contests.  Smoky Mountain Highland Games

May 28-June 2: H.O.G. Rally


June 3-30: Smoky Mountain Photographer’s Showcase (Information to come)

June 9-15; 16-22: Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps and Concert Series – Steve Kaufman’s workshops in flatpicking guitar, fingerpicking guitar, mandolin, Old Time Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo, Old TIme Fiddle, Bluegrass Fiddle, dobro, Mountain dulcimer, Songwriting, Vocal class and Bass. At Maryville College.


July 4-6: Red, White & Blue Show (Information to come)

July 12-14: Smoky Mountain Classic slow pitch softball tournament


Sept. 27-28: Townsend 21st Annual Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day. The fall version of Townsend’s spring classic featuring some of your favorite bluegrass music, clogging, arts and crafts, sorghum molasses making and other Appalachian skills, artisan demonstrations, family activities, and good food.  Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day


Oct. 11-13: Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville


Nov. 4-5: BTA Class (Information coming soon)


Dec. 6: Smoky Mountain Visitors Center Holiday Open House

For more information about each of the Townsend events and festivals contact Jeanie Hilten at the Townsend Visitors Center at 865-448-6134 or 800-525-6834.

Cades Cove – A Brief History

Cades Cove was a pretty hard place to reach for early settlers. To put it simply, you had to really want to get there to actually get there. Indian trails proved to be the main route most took to reach the Cades Cove area. SInce then, roads have taken the place of most of the major trails. Cades Cove road was one of these trails, which is better known these days as Rich Mountain Road. It’s still one of the main routes out of Cades Cove today and one of the most scenic. Hint, hint, fall color enthusiasts and photographers.

If you’re not planning on viewing Cades Cove by way of the Cades Cove Loop Road, may we suggest traveling up Rich Mountain Road to view the cove. One fact if you choose to take Rich Mountain Road, you’ll exit Cades Cove before completing the loop if you take the route. Rich Mountain Road is a one way dirt road which exits Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after 12 mountainous, but very scenic miles.

Reaching Cades Cove by roads coming from the west or by way of towns like Maryville, TN could be especially challenging to travel for the residents of Cades Cove and their horses. Getting to town took at least 3 days in those days. One to travel to town. One to buy or sell goods, or perhaps visit family and friends and one to travel back to the cove.

Though Cades Cove was generally a self sustaining community, pioneers bought things from Maryville such as medicine and remedies such as Camphorated oil, catnip tea, Castor oil, Epsom salts. As time went by, general stores such as the Giles Gregory store, sprang up in Cades Cove where medicine, seeds, sugar, kerosene, yard goods and hardware supplies. Products could be purchased with money or by trading products such as eggs. Still, the larger town of Maryville had a more appealing selection and so the trips from the Cades Cove continued. If on a trip to Maryville, the family was selling rather than buying, chances are they were selling chestnuts which grew in abundance in Cades Cove. Unfortunately disease eventually killed the majestic chestnut groves.

Look Rock

It’s not hard to see why people make Look Rock a destination when they come to the Smoky Mountains. Look Rock occurred naturally but doubles as an observation ledge that overlooks the national park. It also boasts 360 degree panoramic views of the Smokies.

Located on the Foothills Parkway between Townsend and Maryville, TN, it’s the highest point along the frequently traveled parkway. Visitors can also find a campground and a picnic area at Look Rock which is maintained by the National Park Service. So, when you’re hiking to Look Rock, definitely remember to pack a lunch, then stop and enjoy a picnic with your group.

About the Look Rock Observation Tower

The observation tower at Look Rock is open to the public and is quite a sight if you haven’t hiked up the tower before. Talk about a bird’s eye view! It’s a half mile hike to the tower. To put it clearly, you can see up to 40 miles from the tower on a clear day. Though I’m sure you can imagine the beauty for yourself, keep in mind that some days are hazy, so the view is not as clear. Still, it’s one of the best you’ll find of the national park.

Just a quick note, the railing going up and on the tower is low, so if children are in your group, please make sure they are careful and make a point to watch out for them. The other side of the Look Rock parking lot has another observation area with great, picturesque views, just not the 360 degree panoramic views like you’ll find on the tower.

Sorghum Mill in Cades Cove

There is a popular photograph of the Gregg-Cable house in Cades Cove taken from across a field of the house, showing it at an angle, the fence that surrounded it, as well as a few landmarks that stood outside the property. One of those landmarks is a Sorghum Mill – a very important piece in the history of Cades Cove.

For sweetener in food and drink, Great Smoky Mountain settlers used such home-made products as maple syrup, honey and maple sugar. They also used a dark, sweet syrup called molasses. Added to biscuits or corn bread with a little butter and you had a mountain delicacy that hard to beat.

In Cades Cove, molasses was made by way of a sorghum mill like the one found near the Gregg-Cable house. From its beginnings as sorghum cane, Molasses are produced by stripping the leaves off the sorghum cane, then feeding them between the rollers of the sorghum mill.

A mule, horse, or an ox would walk in circles, attached by a harness to the long poles of the mill. This continuous walking would keep the rollers turning which pulled the stalks further into the mill where the sorghum juice was squeezed out of the stalks. The juice was then collected and subsequently boiled down in an outdoor furnace until it was thick and dark. Molasses could be used as a sweetener in a variety of ways. Molasses can be purchased about the middle of September into October at the Cades Cove visitors center.

The sorghum mill is an interesting contrast to the Cable Mill. The farmer had two energy sources: water power and animal power. One was strong but stationary; the other portable but relatively weak. Both served well into this century on mountain farms.

Cades Cove Blacksmith Shop

During the years when people actually called Cades Cove home, before its designation as a national park, no person was more revered or needed than the blacksmith. Some say, in those days, a blacksmith was as important if not more so than a doctor.

In those days, horses were THE mode of transportation, and in some cases powered farming equipment. A blacksmith’s abilities were needed at some point or another by every farmer in the Smokies. When James V. Cable, son of John P. Cable, inherited his father’s mill and farm, he took it upon himself to teach himself the trade of a blacksmith. Maybe it was the numerous people who brought him grain and logs to be milled that planted the idea in his head. Grains and logs were milled by way of wagons drawn by horses and mules. Each required horseshoes. At the same time as the grains and logs were being milled, most customers wanted their animals shod. It was way more convenient than traveling somewhere else. The metal shoes worn by mules and horses, on average, needed pulled and reset every 8 or so weeks. Blacksmiths were in constant need to carry our these tasks.

In order to do this, blacksmith cut the nail ends off and then pulled the shoes right off the mule or horse. The hoofs were then trimmed down like fingernails. Finally, the old shoes could either be reset or brand new shoes could be made and re-shod. The process called for the metal to be heated until it was bright hot and molded into a horseshoe.

But it wasn’t just horses that needed such things as new shoes, blacksmiths in the Smokies crafted metal to be used in the home, on the farm and in the light power industry. The list of items made by blacksmiths could fill up page after page. Things like adzes, axes, hinges, bolts, plows, nails, hammers, chains, hoes, bits, broadaxes, hooks, kitchen knives and drawknives. Cades Cove blacksmiths were certainly welcome and well respected for their skills and paid in everything from labor to crops to cash money.

Today, the James Cable’s Cades Cove blacksmith shop still stands and is a monument to a profession that had as much to do with the lives of those early Cades Cove settlers as any crop or natural resource produced in the area.

2012 Townsend, TN Christmas Parade

Come celebrate the Christmas season in Townsend, TN with the annual Townsend Community Christmas Parade on Sunday, December 2 at 2:30 pm. “A Vintage Christmas” is this year’s theme and if there ever was a town that knew about Smoky Mountain Christmas’ of yesteryear, it’s Townsend, TN.

Parade lineup begins at 1 pm before the actual parade which starts at the intersection of Town Square Drive and Highway 321. The parade will proceed south on Highway 321 and end at Nawger Nob. Parade goers can listen to Christmas music at Nawger Nob following the parade. Prizes will be announced here as well.

Prizes will be given for first, second and third place winners in the categories of large floats, small floats (motorcycle, golf cart, decorated four-wheeler, horse-drawn vehicle, tractor, automobile) and horse or pony and rider. Large floats carry a first, second, and third place prize of $100, $75. and $50. Small float prizes are $50, $35, and $25. Horse or pony & rider prizes are $35, $25, and $15.

People from Townsend and all over Blount County will be competing in the parade. The City of Townsend will provide the only Santa and Mrs. Claus in the parade.

Parade staging areas are as follows:

-Floats and horse-drawn vehicles: The road between IGA and Pizza Hut and lined up on Old Highway 73 and Town Square Drive.

-Cars and motorcycles: Make a left on Old Bridge Road to be lined up on Old Highway 73 up to the corner of Town Square Drive.

-Tractors: The Sevier County Electric Substation.

-Horses and 4-wheelers/golf carts/bikes: At the Visitor Center (not on Myers Road), turn left, and unload on the grass in front of the field. Unloaded trailers must be moved immediately to Nawger Nob, where they can park in the field. Horses should wait in the field until told to line up and proceed. 4-wheelers are not permitted in the field; line up in single file on the grass below the bike trail just past the field gate.

-Wreckers and emergency vehicles – Along Highway 321 on the road side.

If you have questions call Townsend City Hall at 865-448-6886.

Cades Cove’s Henry Whitehead Place

Cades Cove’s Henry Whitehead Place is located near the Chestnut Flats part of the cove. Constructed between 1895-1896, the cabin was built by Matilda “Aunt Tildy” Shields and her second husband, Henry Whitehead.

Matilda and her young son were abandoned by her husband. Though rare, it did happen in those days, even in Cades Cove. It was Matilda’s brothers who took it upon themselves to build a small cabin for her in the aftermath. Also included were a fireplace and chimney. So as you can see, it wasn’t an overnight job, it took some time. But as it were, it had to be built quick and its logs reflect the rough-hewn style – made with a felling axe, the stone chimney made of rubble.

In the coming years though, fortune would shine its light again on Matilda when she met the widower Henry Whitehead and re-married. It was Whitehead who built her one of the nicest log homes in Cades Cove, replacing the one her brothers had built. It was so nice for the time that it had a brick chimney, unheard of in Cades Cove then. Bricks had to be made by the individual in those days and were considered quite the luxury. To do this, settlers took a clump of clay soil, dug it out and then filled the hole with water. The surrounding clay soil was then scrapped and stirred with a hoe until thick and smooth. Then the wet clay was put into molds where the bricks were dried. Afterwards the bricks were fired to make them durable.

Aa for the rest of the Whitehead’s cabin, it was constructed of square shaped logs that were smoothly finished, at least the portion facing the inside of the cabin. The cabin looked a lot like the frame homes which were soon to become fashionable when the first sawmills came to Cades Cove. That’s how nice it was for its time.

The cabin could also really hold in the warmth as square logs were well insulated due to each log’s four inch width. There was virtually no space between the logs either. The Henry and Matilda Whitehead place is the only square-sawed log home to remain in Cades Cove as well as the only one left in the entire Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is considered a transition house from the early Cades Cove cabins to the modern frame homes that later were popular in Cades Cove.

Cades Cove’s Primitive Baptist Church

When the first settlers of Cades Cove staked their claim they were optimistic that this area would help nurture and provide for their families, both physically and spiritually. Religion played just as big of a part in people’s everyday lives as it does today, and maybe even more so.

Faith was so much of an issue with the settling of Cades Cove and the surrounding Smokies area, that it wasn’t long after the first homes were constructed that churches soon followed. History shows that prior to the foundation of Cades Cove’s first Baptist church, residents traveled long distances through the Smoky Mountains, sometimes in feet of snow to attend services in Millers Cove and/or Wears Cove. Tuckaleechee Cove, which is now Townsend, TN, was known to hold their own religious revivals which drew people from all over the region.

John Oliver and his wife, who built the cove’s first cabin, even managed to establish a sect of Millers Cove Baptist Church in Cades Cove in 1825.

Soon though in 1827, the Cades Cove Baptist church was established. And although biblical interpretation would split the Baptists, one side said the scripture allowed for missionary work and others in the congregation said it did not, it was an argument that was being felt in numerous churches across the nation at the time. Therefore, Cades Cove Baptists decided to rename their church in order to distinguish their beliefs from other Baptists. Thus, the Primitive Baptist Church was formed in 1841. The small congregation met in a log structure for 60 years until the white frame church was built in 1887.

The Primitive Baptists remained the dominant religious and political force in the cove with their meetings interrupted only by the Civil War.