Daisy Town: The Birth of Tourism in the Smokies

Black and white image of a cabin built in 1910
Andrews Cabin, built by Avents in 1910

Mayna Avent Nance, GRSM Collection

Quick Facts
Daisy Town, Elkmont Campground, Gatlinburg, TN
Birth place of tourism and the national park idea in the Smokies.

Welcome to Daisy Town, home to the historic Appalachian Club that was chartered in the early 1900s by prominent men mainly from the Knoxville, Tennessee area. These included industrialists, politicians, lawyers, artists, professors, and businessmen, among others. W.B. Townsend, owner of the Little River Lumber Company, became a member and leased logging land to the club to create a hunting and fishing camp. Soon after, Knoxville families began building vacation homes along Jakes Creek. Between 1910 and 1935, almost 80 cabins were built. Before 1925, families arrived by trains (a 3-hour trip) operated by the lumber company. When the logging operations in the area ended in 1925, the railroad tracks were removed, and families began driving their cars to their vacation cabins. The tourist season typically stretched from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Cabin owners brought trunks of clothes and supplies to stay the entire summer. Many would also bring their servants to care for the children. 

“Some brought a servant with them, usually Black women who developed their own social life in the mountains. Often, they had a separate house behind the main cabin.”

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Last updated: April 5, 2024