4 Interesting Facts About Downtown Gatlinburg TN

downtown gatlinburg overlook

From farmland to rollercoasters, good Ol’ Rocky Top and never ending hills, the list of interesting facts about Gatlinburg is never-ending. However, we’ve put together 4 fun facts that we think you’ll not enjoy reading about but that will also add to your time here in the Smoky Mountains.

First Settlers

In the year of 1802 William Ogle from South Carolina wandered into the area that we now know as downtown Gatlinburg. Ogle immediately fell in love with the beauty of the Smokies and decided that he wanted his family to settle at the base of Mount LeConte. With the help of the Cherokee he was able to clear a plot of land and begin cutting logs for a cabin. After retuning to home Ogle fell ill with malaria and passed away in 1803. However, his wife Martha arrived in Gatlinburg by 1805 with their 7 children to follow through with her husband’s dream of living in Tennessee. Martha’s brother Peter Huskey and his family moved with them and helped with finishing the homeplace that William had began. Their home and the first cabin to be built in Gatlinburg still stands today next to traffic light #3. Though the cabin has been moved from its original location, it is still the oldest preserved cabin in the Smoky Mountains.

From Farmland to Tourist Destination

entrance to the village shops in gatlinburgAs you stroll through the heart of Gatlinburg today it’s hard imagine that the area surrounding you was once farmland and fields. To take a step back in time would reveal a much different world. The Village that is today filled with local shops was at one point a large farm field, Subway was the First Baptist Church, Mountain Mall was the Ogle General Store, and the stunning Greystone Inn welcomed guest after guest where the Ripley’s Aquarium sits today. Before you visit the Smokies again, take a little time to watch a few videos about the history of Gatlinburg or read up on a couple of books. Having a picture of yesteryear in your mind as you visit the area will add to your enjoyment and appreciation of those that came before us here in the hills of east Tennessee.

Ol’ Rocky Top

If you’ve ever been to Tennessee, watched a University of Tennessee football game or know someone with a link to the area then you’ve probably heard the song “Rocky Top”. There’s a good chance that you can’t but sing along when you hear it or you may have already decided that you’ve heard it one too many times. Either way, the song is linked downtown Gatlinburg with some fun little facts. Felice and Boudleaux Bryant were staying at the Gatlinburg Inn in downtown Gatlinburg when they penned the lyrics to “Rocky Top”. It is said that it only took them 10 minutes as they sat in room 388 and though it’s possible that the Rocky Top from some is the same Rocky Top that’s located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the couple never indicated that was. However, if you’ve ever hiked up to Rocky Top then you know that the lyrics fit the destination perfectly!

Mountains Here, Mountains There, Mountains Everywhere

view of gatlinburgIf you love mountains then you’re going to love spending time in Gatlinburg! Our beautiful mountain town is surrounded by rollings ridges and peaks of the Southern Appalachians. The parkway that runs through downtown will take you straight into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hence why Gatlinburg is “The Gateway to the Smokies.” However, in any direction that you choose to go you’ll find the beauty of the mountains, including Mount LeConte, Cove Mountain, Big Ride, Grapeyard Ridge and Sugarland Mountain. The slopes of Mount Collins feed the river and areas of the park like Roaring Fork can easily be accessed. Before you roll into town, download a peak finder app to your phone for an easy and fun way to identify the different mountains, peaks, and ridges on your trip.

Now that we’ve wrapped up our 4 interesting facts about downtown Gatlinburg, here are a few facts to know about our hotel!

  • Old Creek Lodge is located in downtown Gatlinburg on River Road. Our location makes accessing shops, dining, and attractions downtown as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park simple and easy.
  • All of Our Guest Rooms feature a fireplaces, a private balcony overlooking the river, luxurious custom-made beds, hardwood floors, a walk-in shower, microwave, mini-fridge, large flatscreen television, and much more!
  • All guests receive free parking, free wifi, a free downtown parking pass if needed, discounted tickets to local attractions and other amenities.

To check out our rooms, rates and available dates, Click Here!