Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cataloochee Valley

After church on Sunday we went up to Cataloochee Valley. We went to see the elk but we didn't know that there were historic houses up there that we could tour as well.

This was the first house we came to. The doors were left open, there was no custodian or anything. People are free to come and go as they like.  Not much had been done to the house except a few things to preserve it. It was like stepping back in time. Walking into the different rooms was like walking into a small time capsule. Parts of the original wallpaper still clung to the wooden walls. Underneath the wallpaper was a layer of old news papers from the early 1900s. The only modern thing that could be found in the house was the occasional "Michael loves Jenny" and the "Frank Doughnutholstein was here 1999" et cetera carved onto the walls and doors. It's a shame that people defaced historical property like that. 

This was the foundation. I doubt that something like this would pass code today, but it has lasted about 150 years. It is amazing how level and uniform they were able to get everything.

This is one of the fireplaces.

This is one of the rooms upstairs.

I tried to take this picture as close to the same angle as the old one as possible. As you can see, a few things have changed since that old picture was taken. I thought it was pretty cool.

The girls standing on the porch of the Palmers Place.

Now, on to the next place.

This bridge was kind of narrow, a little rickety and very precarious.


After a long time of driving we finally found some elk. They were magnificent.

Next we went to see the Palmer Chapel.

                          We saw this fella as we were walking across the field to the chapel.

This was the only church in the area.

This is the view from the pulpit.

 Stepping into the chapel, again was like stepping into another time zone. I could almost hear the preacher delivering his sermon as all the men, woman, and children sat attentively in their Sunday best. Those walls must have so many stories to tell. Stories of all the funerals, all the weddings, all the revivals that happened in that small little chapel.  

There is Ben-Jo delivering his sermon. 

Me posing for the camera.  

This creek runs right in front of the chapel. I could just imagine the children playing in it after the service. 

I am afraid that these next pictures do not do justice to the beautiful scene that I saw when I walked out into the water and looked up the creek. You will just have to take my word for it, it was breathe taking.  

Next, we ran into some some volunteer people who had their own mobile exhibition of bones and fur that belongs to the different animals that live in that area.
This was a cute picture and it gives you an idea of how big the elk antlers get.

Next was the school house.

These elk were grazing in a field next to the school house.

That feller there is still considered a baby. You can tell because of the stretchy collar around it's neck, it stretches as the elk grows. The collars have a tracking device on them so biologist can see where they're going. When they are full grown they get a bigger permanent collar.


The battery ran out on my camera shortly after this picture. We visited one more house before we left. The last house was built later than the other ones and had more "modern" touches to it. It had nice pink siding, and the paneling on the inside was imported all the way from Waynesville (A big deal back then) 
It had arched doorways, and elegant looking stairs. 

Cataloochee Valley is one of the places around here that has been preserved. It was amazing thinking about the 6 or 7 family's or more that lived in this small community. Imagining how they lived their lives, how they helped each other out in hard times. All the joyous times that they shared together, and the grievous heartaches that inevitably came came their way. All the stories locked away in those beautiful mountains.

We want to go back sometime as a family and have a picnic and spend some more time there. We also would like to go camping and hiking through there as well. It is a wonderful and inspiring place to spend the day.     


  1. Blane, you did a very good job capturing the day y'all spent.
    Beautiful pictures! I would love to go see the homes and buildings in Cataloochee Valley. Just my kind of place!
    I loved how you tried to capture the same angle in your picture as the original picture. It was like Maria Palmer was just there, then gone.

    One other thing I noticed...Gabby is growing up!

    The Elks were majestic. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the picture of Benjamin preaching!

  3. Blane:

    A while ago you posted on the Fowler genealogy. I added three comments to the post, but I know that old post comments can get quite buried.

    To sum up quickly, I entered in your genealogical data to confirm that you are my eighth cousin once removed, as we are both descendants of Godfrey Fowler, Sr.

    By reading your blog it is evident that you and I have much in common including our faith, family, and finances (we became debt free earlier this year). I would love to chat with you over e-mail.