After standing empty for many years, the historic Spence Cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been restored and is available to the public for day-use. The cabin is located in the Elkmont Historic District, about 9 miles from Gatlinburg, TN.
"Spence Cabin sits right on the Little River in the middle of historic Elkmont and is a beautiful setting for a special event," says Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. "The park's Historic Preservation Crew did an outstanding job restoring the cabin. We're very excited to finally make it available to the public."
Constructed in the late 1920s, the cabin is named for the Spence family, who were the last to hold a lease on the home. It is also known by many former Elkmont residents as the River Lodge. The true-to-original pink and green color scheme, stone chimney and rock entryway lend the cabin a quaint charm and are vivid reminders of the rich history of the Elkmont area.
To retain its historic character, the cabin was not upgraded to modern standards. For those seeking a rustic space in a beautiful setting, however, it may be just right. Accommodating up to 40 people, the cabin has four small meeting rooms, one large room with a gas fireplace and two restrooms. It is equipped with folding chairs, dining tables and buffet tables. Although the cabin has no cooking appliances, there is a refrigerator and electrical outlets in a small "warming kitchen." Behind the cabin, there are two stone patios, one of which overlooks the Little River. With the exception of the riverside patio, the cabin is fully accessible to mobility impaired individuals.
Reservations for the Spence Cabin may be made beginning June 13. November 15 is the last day to rent the cabin this year. It may be rented on a daily basis from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. The rental fee is $150 per day Monday -Thursday and $200 per day Friday -Sunday.
The Appalachian Clubhouse, also located in the Elkmont Historic District, is available for rent, as well. The historic clubhouse was rehabilitated in 2011 and is rented on a daily basis for a fee of $300 per day Monday - Thursday and $500 per day Friday - Sunday. The clubhouse accommodates up to 96 people.
The park will hold an open house for both facilities on Friday, June 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.
The park regularly offers ranger-led tours of the Elmont Historic District every Friday at 10:00 a.m. These tours are an excellent opportunity to learn more about Elkmont's history as a turn-of-the-century logging boomtown and summer resort community. Those interested in joining a tour should meet behind the Elkmont Campground Ranger Station a few minutes prior to the start of the tour.
Reservations and additional information for both the Spence Cabin and Appalachian Clubhouse, including maps and photographs, are available at www.recreation.gov. Additional information on the Spence Cabin can also be found here. Check out this video tour of the building. In addition to some interesting historical photographs, the video shows how peaceful and inviting this place must have been back in the day: