Great Smoky Mountains National Park | EPHRAIM BALES HOMESTEAD

Ephraim Bales cabin

Ephraim Bales cabin


See the Gatlinburg Region web page for an interactive location map.


Stop 11 on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the former homestead of Ephraim Bales, brother of Jim Bales whose place is just down the road. Here Bales, his wife, and nine children lived crammed into what is known as a “dog-trot” cabin, two cabins placed side by side with space between and a common roof connecting them together. The open area served as a covered walkway between the two cabins, a sitting area during warm or stormy weather, and a passageway for air to flow through to help keep the place cool in the summer. The larger cabin was the living area, while the other was the kitchen. The family lived here from around 1890 until the government purchased the land in 1930 for inclusion in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The original corn crib, barn, and pig pen remain standing as well.

When walking around the property you wonder why in the world would someone want to live here. It’s not like today where you can buy a mountain cabin and get everything you need at the store. These people had to get everything they needed out of the land. From Bales’s 70 acres, only 30 could be farmed due to excessive rocks. All I can figure is that he must have gotten tired of wandering around looking for a place and just settled here out of frustration.

Barn

Barn

Corn crib

Corn crib

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Last updated on March 15, 2020
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