The John Oliver Cabin is a pioneer log cabin located in Cades Cove, which now lies within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Unlike the national parks in the west, which were platted out from government lands, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was once thousands of parcels of land, owned by many title holders.
In order to establish the park many parcels were purchased and some had to be condemned. A lucky few, including some Cades Cove residents, were awarded lifetime leases and were able to remain in their homes until the day they died.
The Park Service elected to preserve some structures throughout the park for their historic value. As a result, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is both an International Biosphere Reserve and as a living testament to the anthropological influence in the region.
Cades Cove offers a glimpse into the lives of people that lived here from the very first pioneers that constructed cabins from the materials that were present to the last residents who lived in sided houses built in the Twentieth Century.
And so, the families that built these strong cabins and used the fertile cove for farming and sustenance, eventually yielded their properties for the public good, And today, over eleven million visitors come to the Great Smoky Mountains every year, and most of them make their way to Cades Cove to have a look at how life used to be in the mountains!
I’ll bet John Oliver never would have believed that his cabin would be visited 190 years after it was constructed! It has served as both a landmark for visitors, and as a monument to those hardy souls that eked out a living on the early frontier!
If you visit Cades Cove please be patient. It can be very crowded on the Loop Road, especially in October. Better to bring a picnic lunch and plan on spending the entire day in the Cove.