Oliver's bought land in the Cove in 1826
and this cabin site remained in the family until the Park was established. The house is
typical of many found on the eastern frontier in the mid-1850s, and reflects the skills
and techniques brought into the mountains by descendants of British and European
Members of the family
lived there until the Smoky Mountains National Park was under development.
The round logs were scored first along their length with a felling
axe, then hewn with a broad axe. The notched corners need no pegs or nails, as gravity
locks them together. Chinks (open spaces between the logs) were filled with mud to seal
out wind and rain. The stone chimney was laid in mud mortar. Windows and doors are
typically small, to conserve heat, and maintain the strength of the building. Split wooden
shingles, the most common material used here, cover the roof. The materials to build this
house are growing or lying all around you.
Privacy in the
home was rare. Life centered in the main room. Children were welcomed. The
more kids, the lighter the farm work. Older folk lived here, too. A head
count of ten to twelve under one roof was not unusual. The home was a
business, school, hospital, orphanage, nursing home and poor house.