Learn about Cades Cove at Saturday’s Old Timers Day
Next Saturday, take a trip to Cades Cove and get a good dose of history from former residents of the most visited area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s Old Timers Day, and those who know this beautiful spot best will spin their yarns, play their music and share their heritage — the way their forefathers and foremothers lived it — with visitors.
Richard Anderson, president of the Cades Cove Preservation Association, said this celebration of life in the small mountain community has taken a back seat to festivals in Townsend. He and David Ledbetter, both with blood ties to the Cove and charter members of CCPA, are trying to change that.
“It used to be a big event,” Richard said. “But over the years, it has lost momentum. You don’t see the older people sitting around, talking and reminiscing. So we at the CCPA have been making the effort to revive it again. We take posters, pictures, photo albums and do some demonstrations. We have former residents of Cades Cove present for people to come by and ask questions. We have music. We’re about the only organization doing any demonstrations or programs up there now. But we’re trying to revive this, get people back up there again.”
The event will take place from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (May 5) at the Cable Mill area, between the store and the mill. Another Old Timers Day takes place in the fall.
At Saturday’s event, several former residents will be on hand. Richard said Ruth Caughron Davis, daughter of Lois Caughron and the late Kermit Caughron, the last residents of Cades Cove, will be there, as will Judy Myers Johns. Others are expected, as well.
“All we ask is for people to come out and support it,” Richard said. “If you have questions, the former residents will be there to answer them. Bring your children and grandchildren. Talk about what it was like in Cades Cove.”
Richard said it is very important to get the younger people involved, to pique their interest in the preservation of their heritage.
“David Ledbetter and I have worked hard on this,” Richard said. “We both look at it like, if we don’t do, it’s not going to get done, and it’s going to die.”
In January 2001, CCPA was officially formed as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Cades Cove as well as the education of the public concerning its historical significance and culture. Since then, the organization has actively worked with Great Smoky Mountains National Park personnel in maintaining Cove cemeteries, cleaning the churches on a regular basis, providing interpretive programs and more. In addition, artifacts provided by those with ties to Cades Cove, photographs and genealogical information are housed at the Thompson-Brown House/Cades Cove Museum at 1004 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville.
Membership in CCPA is open to anyone with an interest in preserving this treasured spot. For information, visit http://cadescovepreservationtn.homestead.com .
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times and a charter member of the Cades Cove Preservation Association. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (firstname.lastname@example.org)