Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reader participation day: Kephart Prong Trail

During our visit to the Great Smoky Mountains last week, one of our destinations was the Kephart Prong Trail on the North Carolina side of the Smokies. I knew beforehand that there was a Depression era Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp located near the trailhead. However, after hiking the trail, I was left with a lot of questions regarding some of historical artifacts that still remain in and around the trail. I've been able to answer a few of my questions with a little research on the internet, but was hoping that any historians or experts that might be reading this blog could shed some light on a few other questions.

The first significant artifact that hikers encounter on the trail is this chimney. We originally assumed this was the remains from an old homestead, but have since found out that it was from the barracks at the CCC camp located here.

In this same area we also came across the object below. I assume this is the framing for the camp signboard I've seen described in a couple of internet articles. However, there appeared to be a small water pipe at the top of the arch (can't see it in the photo). Did the signboard include some type of water display or fountain?

Speaking of water pipes, if you do a little exploring off the trail you'll come across several large pipes scattered in the weeds in this same area. I've since learned that the Works Project Administration built a fish hatchery near this location in the 1930s to replenish trout and bass in the mountain streams. Were the pipes used as part of this operation? Did the WPA use the pipes to divert water from nearby Kephart Prong to the hatchery?

Does anyone know what either of these implements were used for:

I also found it quite interesting that the CCC would build their own water fountain:

Further up the trail we came across this large cement block sitting just above the trail. Anyone know what this was used for? I've read in a couple of places that this may have been a cistern. However, I'm not sure that necessarily makes sense, as workers would have used the nearby stream as a source of water. Unless of course the Kephart Prong was contaminated due to all the logging.

Notice the dome-shaped hole at the bottom, as well as the pipe emerging from the ground just below the hole:

A shot of Kephart Prong above one of the foot bridges:

Finally, the Kephart Prong Shelter at the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail junction:

For more in-depth information on hiking the Kephart Prong Trail, please click here.

HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.


Mike said...

I believe the concrete slab was part of the fish hatcheries that the CCC operated at this location.

So much for that. Out with the rainbows, in with the browns.

Smokey said...

I have been doing some recent learning about Kepp and his side kick photographer on a documentary series that I have on my dvr called National Parks Americas Best Idea...there are many facts and photos that may be helpful here...Horace Kephart and George massa were both great men here are a couple of cool links you may enjoy,,, http://georgemasa.blogspot.com/2009/03/identification-of-george-masa.html http://beth-kephart.blogspot.com/ I enjoy reading your blog...Because of your blog I found Kepharts great grandaughters blog which I now follow as well as the Masa blog..thanks! and good on ya!!! ...Smokey...

tylerp said...

pipes in the Appalachia mean one thing...stills