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GSMNP: images of america: lost elkmont

Prior to the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) in 1934, the small community of Elkmont was established as a logging camp by Col. Wilson B. Townsend's Little River Lumber Company around 1908. This was after he purchased 86,000 acres of mostly virgin forest. The area that was previously inhabited by various American Indian groups, and later by European-American settlers beginning around 1830, was to become for a time the second largest town in Sevier County, Tennessee. Colonel Townsend's business ventures proved successful beyond expectation, as he skillfully exploited the area's valuable hardwood forests. His logging company and railroad provided a mountain population with jobs and steady wages. Once all the valuable timber was harvested, Townsend sold land to private citizens who established what was to become an exclusive summer community that included both the Appalachian and Wonderland Clubs. These coexisted inside the GSMNP until 1992. This is the story of Elkmont.

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