Great Smoky Mountains National Park | CALDWELL HOUSE

Caldwell House

Caldwell House


The Caldwell House is located down a narrow dirt road that begins at the end of the paved road that passes the Cataloochee Campground. For a location map, see the Cataloochee Historical Area web page.


The Caldwell House was built by Hiram Caldwell in 1903, but like many mountain homes, sections were added on as money came in and it wasn’t completed until 1906. The house is open to the public, though there is nothing inside. As it turns out, even the sophisticated people visiting National Parks will steal anything if it isn’t nailed down. That’s what happened to many of the exhibits in the historical homes. As a result, they are now open, but empty of anything to take.

Interior of the Caldwell House

Interior of the Caldwell House

Furthermore, many of the buildings are riddled with graffiti. The people who do this are most likely law-abiding citizens, but for some reason they just don’t understand that writing or carving their names in the walls isn’t the right thing to do. One Ranger told me that a man once came up to him to borrow a pen so that he could write his name on the wall. There was so much graffiti that he thought it was encouraged. If you are caught defacing the property, you will definitely receive a hefty fine and could even spend time in jail.

Like many buildings in the park, graffiti is now etched into the interior walls of the Caldwell House

Like many buildings in the park, graffiti is now etched into the interior walls of the Caldwell House

One cool thing about the interior of the Caldwell House is the newspaper that was used for wallpaper. You can read the lines from the articles and even find dates on some pieces.

Old newspaper was used as wallpaper

Old newspaper was used as wallpaper

The house is best photographed in the afternoon. In the morning the sun is behind it, which is not conducive to getting a good photograph. However, across the street is a huge meadow that is frequented by elk, and it is in the morning when the sun sweeps across the field and lights that area wonderfully. The elk do not get too close to the road, so for the best photographs you need at least a 400 mm lens.

Elk graze in the field across from the Caldwell House

Elk graze in the field across from the Caldwell House

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Last updated on March 13, 2020
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