Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Remembrance of Things Past: Gatlinburg #1

Jim Bales Homesite/Alex Cole cabin: Roaring Fork, GSMNP
Photo by Gaylord Kugle used by permission

Although the area is still closed, to my knowledge, using the interactive map provided by Sevier County officials, the James Wesley "Jim" Bales homesite with the Alex Cole log cabin is intact. The location apparently survived the firestorms that swept through the national park and Gatlinburg on Monday, November 28, although it appears a portion of Roaring Fork inside the park did indeed burn.

Jim and Emma Bales married 1863.
James Wesley, known as Jim Bales was my great grandfather. He and great grandmother Emma E. Ogle Bales were the parents of my granddad Homer Daniel Bales (born January 5, 1899) who spent part of his childhood at the location. Today we call it idyllic; they would have called it hardscrabble. 

The Alex Cole cabin was relocated to the Roaring Fork homestead in 1978/79. It is log cabin that was moved from the Sugarlands to occupy the spot where the original Bales home had once been. Built in 1890, the Cole house is an excellent example of a single pen cabin, one story with a loft, constructed of chestnut hewn logs, dovetail notching and a gabled roof covered with hand-split oak shingles. At the time of the relocation the Cole cabin had been somewhat isolated and could have been vandalized.

The barn and corn crib on the site are original. In 1931, great grandfather Jim Bales sold the 116 acres, most of it wooded, for $1612.27 to become part of the national park.

Thanks Mac, for bringing this to my attention. 

The Jim Bales barn and corn crib are original to the site

© 2016 From the upcoming book, 
"Vintage Gatlinburg: 
The Transformation of a Small Timber Town to a Mountain Resort
 Family Remembrances 1899-1974" 
by University of Tennessee Press author and native son  
Stephen Lyn Bales

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