- [S9] Smoky Mountain Historical Society Newsletter, Smoky Mountain Historical Society, Vol. XXVI, Issue 1, page 73, 2000.
- [S78] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume I, 1930-1954, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 3 Nov 1942.
Mrs. Ellen Whaley obituary
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 12 Dec 2011.
Upland Chronicles: Greenbrier has lengthy history of hospitality
by CARROLL McMAHAN
Before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park acquired Big Greenbrier Cove approximately 800 people called the scenic wonderland home. Far from the wilderness it is today, farms dotted the landscape and the mountain community boasted five corn mills, two churches, two schools, three blacksmith shops, three general stores and finally a hotel, which stood but a dozen years.
Kimsey Whaley and James West Whaley, whose family called him “Jeems,” bought an old school building from the county in 1923, when there began to be talk about setting the Smokies aside as either a national park or national forest. They added a wrap-around porch, dining room, kitchen and another story to create resort for families and sportsmen who enjoyed rustic accommodations and good home-style food.
There were 20 rooms in the hotel, but only one bathroom on each of the two floors. No matter which floor they were quartered on, the female quests used the facilities on the bottom floor and the men used the bath on the top floor.
Homemade wooden rocking chairs were a main attraction on the big porch. For cool evenings, a large stone fire place stood in the lobby.
Kimsey and his wife, Mintha, and Jeems and his wife Rosalie, ran the hotel for a while. They called it the Hotel LeConte, after the mountain that rises southwest of Greenbrier.
In September 1926, Harvey Broome stayed at the Hotel LeConte the night prior to his first trip to Mt. Guyot. Of the hotel he later wrote. “It can only be reached by a narrow, winding, step; rough, rock-and-mud-infested mountain road…...the hotel has two stories, built of wood and had a tin roof. It must have been fifty feet square with a long hall down the middle of each floor and small bedrooms branching off from it.
The rooms and halls and whole building for that matter were lighted only with single oil lamps. The floors were of planed oak boards, and the rooms were sealed pine flooring. A washstand with a pitcher and basin, a plain double bed, and two mountain-made chairs completed the equipment.
Water, drawn from faucets on the porches which surrounded the building on three sides on both floors, came from a captured stream some half mile or so up the mountain, and we could use it with lavish wasteful frequency. I observed there was really no necessity for screens. We sat for a while on the porch after dark and were not annoyed by a single insect.
The hotel was situated in the peninsula between two big mountain streams which ran within fifty yards of it on one side and a hundred on the other and joined perhaps one hundred and fifty yards below. The ceaseless, restless, hollow roars of the stream made a welcome music for our outdoor-living souls.” (Harvey Broome: Earth Man)
Rates averaged $1.50 to $1.75 per day, and visitors came from all over the country to relax, to hike and to fish. During the 1930s, when the David Chapman CCC Camp was situated in the same area, CCC officials stayed at the hotel.
James G. Whaley worked at the hotel driving a hack and meeting guest at the train station in Sevierville. He also offered his services as a guide taking guests on hikes, fishing and hunting trips.
A.J. Brunner and his wife, Rose of Chicago stayed several weeks every summer the hotel was in business.
Isaac Price ran the place for awhile and Harold Whaley operated it next. Harold sold it to his parents Elbert “Ebb” and Cordia Whaley and they operated it until 1935. At various times over the twelve-year span, the hotel called LeConte Hotel, Greenbrier Hotel and Pinnacle Hotel.
Several visiting officials from the Department of Interior and crews of the Champion Fiber Company lived there during the years of the acquisition of land for the national park.
Ebb and Cordia Whaley sold out to the park service and moved in 1935. The hotel was dismantled and some of the lumber given to nearby Smoky Mountain Academy for the building of a gymnasium.
The Great Smoky Mountains wilderness has reclaimed the site which was about 150 yards past the bridge at the junction of the main Greenbrier Road and Ramsey Prong Road, in the “V” formed between Porters Creek and the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
Memories are the only thing that remains of the rustic hotel that served as lodging for a generation of outdoor enthusiast who appreciated the natural beauty of the mountains and used the hotel as a starting place for trips to Greenbrier Pinnacle, Porters Flats, Mt. Guyot, and Mt. Collins, Dry Sluice Gap and Mt. LeConte.
— Carroll McMahan is the Special Projects Coordinator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. This is part of the Upland Chronicles series, celebrating the heritage and past of Sevier County. If you have suggestions for future topics, would like to submit a column, or have comments, contact McMahan at 453-6411 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ron Rader at 604-9161 or e-mail to email@example.com.
- [S78] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume I, 1930-1954, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 11 Aug 1952.
Whaley, Kimsey hus of Maggie Ogle farmer b. Feb 1882 TN d. Aug 11, 1952 R1 Gatlinburg f. Jim Whaley Providence Cem Survivors: widow 6 sons Zell Dot Ben Bon Paul Gene 3 dau Mrs Paul Burns Mrs Jim Bogle Mrs William Newman 1 sis Mrs Cordia Lindsey 3 gc.
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 10 Apr 2003.
Gene Whaley obituary