Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Smokies, April 2012...Porters Creek Trail

Porters Creek
On April 24, we drove over to the Greenbrier area of the Smokies and hiked a mile up the Porters Creek trail. It's a very pretty hike along Porters Creek, leading to a historic farm site at one mile. The second mile leads through a lovely display of spring wildflowers to a pretty waterfall. This time, though, we went only as far as the farm site.

Ownby Cemetery on Porters Creek Trail
About three quarters of a mile into the hike, rock stairs lead up the hill to the Ownby cemetery. There are several of these little cemeteries in the National Park, left over from the days when people lived in the area, before their land was purchased for the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We have visited this cemetery before; and this time, as on previous visits, virtually every grave in the cemetery was decorated with some sort of flowers. Someone cares.

John Messer Barn at Historic Farm Site
It's a marvel to us how those early settlers leveled their buildings with rocks, and this old barn is an example of that. The John Messer Barn was constructed in 1875. It's the only remaining structure of the pre-park community of Greenbrier Cove and was added to the National Register in 1976. The Messer Barn is a type of double-cantilever barn unique to East Tennessee and rarely found outside its immediate vicinity.

Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin at Historical Farm Site
The Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin, located next to the Messer Barn on the Porters Creek Trail, is a dogtrot cabin constructed by members of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club between 1934 and 1936, one of the few non-National Park Service structures built within the park's boundaries during the 1930s. In 1933, the club's members met with the National Park Service director and convinced him to grant them a special-use permit to build the cabin.

A dogtrot house historically consisted of two log cabins connected by a breezeway or "dogtrot," all under a common roof. Typically one cabin was used for cooking and dining while the other was used as a private living space, such as a bedroom. It's a style of house that was common throughout the Southeastern United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most theories place its origins in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Some scholars believe the style developed in the post-Revolution frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Club used the logs from three dismantled cabins from the local area, and constructed the the Hiking Club cabin around an existing chimney fall. The club leased the cabin from the park service until 1981.

And what would a historical farm site be without one of these...?
The Necessary



  1. What a great ending,Lovely capture of this area. I do not remember the cemetery, it is nice they still have someone thinking of them.

  2. In spite of the old structures, this land looks wonderfully untouched by time.

  3. the necessary. too funny. :)

    love the dogtrot style. and such pretty territory!

  4. Steve - These little cemeteries are scattered throughout the national park, and we usually seek them out when we're hiking. Not all of them are as well tended as this one, though.

    Stephen - It's amazing how quickly nature can take over a previously cultivated site when human intervention is removed.

    Theresa - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed our hike.

  5. What an interesting hike, Linda. I especially like the construction of the barn, somewhat unbelievable, isn't it? :-)

  6. Wonderful hike, Linda... I love the Greenbriar area. We hiked near there once while searching for some waterfalls (which we did not find)...


  7. What a great place to be..and even the cemetery is ....peaceful...
    That cabin seems so "cool"!
    Love that place. Have a nice, blessed day!

  8. Petra - Those early pioneers built rustic buildings, but they were built to last. It's a marvel what they were able to accomplish with simple tools.

    Betsy - The waterfall on Porters Creek trail can be missed if you don't know it's there and aren't watching for it. We nearly walked right by it the first time we went. It's about two miles up the trail and is worth a visit on a future hike.

    Blue Shell - Welcome, and thanks for visiting and commenting. The Smoky Mountains are beautiful and peaceful...and not just the cemeteries.

  9. Fantastic photographs, beautiful places. I am greeting

  10. ZielonaMila - Thanks so much for the visit and for the kind words.

  11. What a lovely spot and that cemetery with all it's flowers is so endearing. Gotta love whomever placed those colourful remembrances there.

    I have only very recently heard the term "the necessary" for the first time. It was while visiting a Victorian tea house. That will be a future blog post, no doubt.

    Beautiful photos, my friend.

  12. Hilary - I find those little cemeteries interesting. And I did find it touching that someone was making the effort to keep flowers on the graves in this one...not just on one or two graves but on all of them.

    I'd heard of the term, "the necessary," but those little buildings are more commonly called "outhouses." It was Sandy's post about Mt. Vernon that motivated me to use the other term for this one. It seems fitting. And I even used this particular "necessary" on a previous hike. Believe me, that name fit then! :)

  13. Great pictures and and a great walk along Porters Creek Trail. Thanks for taking me along. Nice!

  14. Thanks, GQ. Glad you enjoyed the virtual hike. :)

  15. Thats a beautiful to end your days on earth

  16. Julie - I agree...that would be a great cemetery in which to be buried. Thanks for the visit and the comment.


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