Smoky Mountains Back in the Day


Check out this classic footage of the Smokies from 1928. Keep in mind that this was several years before the creation of the national park. Take particular notice of the rural area in the shadow of Mount LeConte. Today that same spot is downtown Gatlinburg.

Hang on until the end. You’ll see some of the earliest rainbow trout stocked in the Smokies.

Try to envision that at this same time the only way to get to Townsend or Elkmont was by train. Little River Road didn’t exist and people lived on small farms in Cades Cove.


  1. Bill Henegar says:

    I am looking for my son (26yrs) a position involving trout fishing, guiding, or etc. He has a strong desire to be outdoors, loves nature. He has studied survival techniques to some degree, but still needs some 1 on 1 training for this field. Please feel free to contact me for further info.


    P.S.-we have been on 2 trips with R & R Fly Fishing-very rewarding.

  2. Bill Henegar says:

    I think I saw myself sitting on the big rock….thinking, when is lunch served!

    Thanks for sending.


  3. John Switow says:

    Amazing. I was surprised by the amount of trees as well. Wonder what pool that is, no longer equipped with a diving board… and some pretty talented kids. Gatlinburg will never look like that again!

  4. Andy Patton says:

    What a great find, Ian. Thanks for posting.

  5. I’m surprised at the amount of forest, and lack of clear cutting on the video (I guess they would naturally avoid filming those areas). But, from my readings about the logging activities of the early 1900’s, I had expected to see a barren landscape – what I see in the video looks pretty lush!

    • Wayne,

      Small trees and brush grow up pretty quickly in the mountains. However, the Chimneys and the slopes of LeConte were too steep to cut. You made a good point that they probably didn’t film anything that looked ugly, probably because you didn’t take a vacation there. Elkmont was transitioning from a logging town to resort in 1928.