Saturday, December 17, 2016

Remembrance of Things Past: Gatlinburg #5

With Russell Bales, 1979

With Rachael Eliot, 2016
Baskins Falls. Although the area is still closed and again we have to rely on the interactive map provided by the national park and Sevier County officials, but the Baskins Creek Waterfall area appears to have burned during the firestorms that swept through the national park and Gatlinburg on Monday, November 28. 

If anyone gets to hike in and can tell me otherwise, please do so. Of course, the two-tier waterfall itself would not have burned but all the lush green—the ferns and brackens and lycopodium and galax and laurel and rhododendrons—around the falls would have burned away. 

This is one of my favorite hidden locations to hike in to. I do it often. For years, it was not on any map. There were no signs pointing the way. You just had to know were it was, and I knew. Baskins Creek is my natal water, so there is an ancestral connection. But again, anyone from old time Gatlinburg is related to all of these people I have been posting about as well. Blogging is just my way of grieving and remembering.  

The hidden Baskins Creek Waterfall was where my grandmother Pearl Mae Ogle Bales took showers when she was a barefoot girlas did all of the rest of the large family. In those days, having a home with a running water shower would have been an amenity few homesteads could match even if it was a short walk away. 

Preston Columbus Ogle family. Circa. 1918. 
Front: Clifford, Elizabeth, Luther "Coot", Homer, Preston Columbus, Stella, Fred. Back: Walter, Russell, Pearl Mae (Bales), Arlie.

In the late 1920s, great grandfather Preston Columbus Ogle "Little Pres" sold 124.6 acres along Baskins Creek that included: "a 3-room frame house, 4 tenant houses, 2 barns, a mill, 200 apple trees and a waterfall for $3,500." P.C. sold the family property, as did all of his neighbors, to become part of a greater good: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In the above photo, my grandmother Pearl Mae Ogle Bales is the young woman standing in the back row, the child sitting in his mother's lap Nancy Elizabeth Eslinger is Luther "Coot" Ogle who went on to be a prominent businessman in Gatlinburg owning the Twin Islands and Crossroads Motels and Ogle's Buffet Restaurant.

Twin Islands Motel downtown Gatlinburg
And the same water that cascades over Baskins Creek Falls eventually flows into the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River in downtown Gatlinburg and moves downstream past the Twin Islands Motel, as it should.

© 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

For links to other Gatlinburg history posts click:

Alfred Reagan

Ephraim Bales

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