(GSMNP release) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that work crews will remove ten structures in Elkmont beginning the week of March 12. The removal of these structures, located near the former Wonderland Hotel, marks the end of major demolition work in the Elkmont area which began in 2010 as specified in the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) among the National Park Service, Tennessee State Historic Office, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Later in 2018, park crews will begin preservation of the Sneed, Smith, Higdon, and Swan cabins in the Daisy Town area.
“I am proud of the work that we’re continuing in Elkmont as we move forward with both the preservation of the rich cultural history of the area and the restoration of unique, natural communities,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.
Weather permitting, demolition work will be completed by April 30 for the ten structures located along an administrative road leading to the former site of the Wonderland Hotel. The administrative road will be closed to pedestrian use during the demolition work to accommodate heavy equipment. Crews have already salvaged usable items from the structures for use in preserving historic structures in the park. The demolition work, contracted to Street Legal, will be accomplished by lifting the structures from the infrastructure so that foundations and chimneys will be preserved in place if possible.
In a separate project, park staff plan to begin the stabilization work of the four Daisy Town structures in fall of 2018. Workers will repoint masonry features, replace rotted wood, paint, and make needed repairs to windows, doors, and roofs. The Daisy Town area, Elkmont Cemetery, Spence Cabin, Appalachian Clubhouse, and Elkmont Campground will remain open throughout this work. Campers should expect noise throughout the day, but all quiet hours will be observed.
From 1992 through 2008, the park entered into a series of public planning efforts including an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that led to the 2009 MOU and an amendment to the park’s General Management Plan defining the disposition of the 74 remaining structures in the Elkmont Historic District. The EIS defined a full range of possible actions in seven alternatives for management of the historic district with the expected impacts and projected costs of each alternative. These alternatives ranged from full removal of all buildings as described in the park’s 1982 General Management Plan to incrementally greater preservation and reuse of the buildings for a variety of purposes with costs estimated between $1.4 million to over $30 million. As specified in the decision documents, 19 structures were designated to be preserved for public visitation, while 55 structures were identified for demolition. To date, two structures have been fully restored and four have been preserved. In addition, removal work in the Society Hill and Millionaires’ Row section has been completed.
For more information about the Elkmont Historic District Environmental Impact Statement, please visit the park website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/grsm where the document can be downloaded from the archived projects section.