- [S106] The Mountain Press, 24 Jul 2004.
GATLINBURG - Piles of pictures, newspaper clippings, books and mementos cover nearly every surface in the ancient log home of the late Lucinda Oakley Ogle, one of Sevier County's most famous residents.
The materials not only document the remarkable 94-year life of the lady known as the "Queen of the Smokies," but they also provide an amazing look into the history of those who settled the area that is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It's a wealth of information that should not be lost, and no one is more aware of that than Ogle's daughter Billie Noland, who has been sorting the memorabilia since Ogle's Dec. 30, 2003, death.
"She called this her 'palace,' and I just can't sell it - I want to see it kept like it is," said Noland.
As a result, Noland is following a suggestion from her friend Jan Lapides, of Gatlinburg, to offer the city the opportunity to take over the two-acre Ski Mountain property and maintain it as a museum and botanical garden.
Noland has already talked to City Commissioner Mike Werner regarding a lease arrangement and found Werner to be receptive.
"It would be wonderful if the city could work out a lease situation to turn the property into a historic site and museum. I've talked with the family and asked them to come up with a lease-to-purchase amount type of deal," said Werner.
He went on to say, "I can see all kinds of opportunity for the city with this property - we've lost so many other landmarks, and you can't get them back once they're gone. Anything we could work out would be a smart move for Gatlinburg."
As a long-time friend of Ogle and Noland and a member of Gatlinburg Garden Club, Lapides said she can envision the property as a cultural and botanical mecca for tourists because the property is also covered with native wildflowers Ogle transplanted.
"This place should be preserved to show visitors how a real mountain woman lived. Lucinda would always inform people that she was not a hillbilly - she was a mountain woman - and that there's a big difference - mountain women made a very conscientious effort to live off what they were provided," said Lapides.
Lapides expanded upon her idea for the Ogle property by saying, "The Park has preserved homes, including Lucinda's grandfather's home, but not the artifacts in them. This would be an opportunity for people in the area to loan historical items from their families to display."
Noland also recognizes that the property itself is a piece of history, as she recounted the story of how her mother bought the two-acre property during World War II while her father was away fighting.
"She (Ogle) spent a lot of time on the vacant land planting flowers. When daddy came home he said, 'She was raised in a log house, and I'm going to put her back in one.'
"That's when they bought this old log house up on Bluff Mountain and had it moved onto the property about 1947," said Noland.
Lucinda Ogle home could become museum
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 14 Aug 2005.
'Queen of the Smokies' property sold
Efforts under way to preserve home, gardens
By: CANDICE GRIMM, Staff Writer August 14, 2005
Photo by Candice Grimm
Billie Noland, daughter of the late Lucinda Oakley Ogle, pauses at the entrance to the historic log home her mother had owned in Gatlinburg. The home and two acres on which it sits have been sold to developers.
GATLINBURG - With the death of Lucinda Oakley Ogle in 2003, one of the area's greatest historians and finest examples of mountain heritage was lost.
Now, the historic log home and two-acre wildflower gardens of the lady dubbed "Queen of the Smokies" by Heartland Series host Bill Landry, has been sold, and will probably be developed.
Ogle's daughter Billie Noland, who inherited the property along with a cousin in Oregon, said the property is being purchased by a development group based in Georgia and South Carolina.
"I'm satisfied with the sale," Noland said. "I hate to give it up because it was mother's home and she loved her home, but I'm glad to get out of it too - it's just so much like her and there are so many memories."
Noland confirmed that the selling price was about $1 million.
When contacted about the purchase, Bill Bashor of Easley, S.C., one of three partners in the development group, declined to comment about the future of the property or the selling price. The closing is expected to take place in late October.
It is Noland's hope that the buyers will preserve the house, but since that is probably unlikely, Noland has given permission to M.C. Stone-Shelton, president of Gatlinburg Garden Club, to do whatever the club wants with the house if the new owners don't want it, as well as the flowers and plants on the property.
Stone-Shelton said Friday that she has drafted a letter asking the buyers' permission to dismantle and remove the house.
"We already have a committee in place, and if the new developer doesn't want it, we'll dismantle the house and store the logs until we can find a place to reconstruct it. We are hoping that the city or some landowner will offer land for it," Stone-Shelton said.
Until she gets an answer regarding the house, Stone-Shelton is forging ahead with plans to remove the numerous species of native wildflowers, plants and trees covering the property.
"Since we can't find a place for them right now, the city's recreation department is working with me to preserve the rare wildflowers and trees. Janna Brien, horticulturist for the city, and I were there today, and she was blown away with the number of different species found there - some of which are very rare," said Stone-Shelton.
The plan, according to Stone-Shelton, is for Brien to identify and tag the rare trees, which will then be dug up with a backhoe and moved to city property such as schools, Mills Auditorium and other sites. The wildflowers and other rare plants will be taken to the city's greenhouses for safekeeping until locations can be found for them.
"We want to have a garden somewhere in Lucinda's honor," Stone-Shelton said.
The Noland family has also agreed to open Ogle's home and gardens to visitors for self-guided tours during the Gatlinburg Heritage Days scheduled for Aug. 20 through Sept. 5.
The free tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Inside the house, visitors will be able to look at some of Ogle's scrapbooks on the history of the area, and old pictures of Gatlinburg. One of the video taped interviews of Ogle from the Heartland Series will also be shown, music will be played, and Landry will also be there to speak with visitors.
Noland said one of the fondest memories she has of her mother is the day of her 94th birthday party when her many friends came to see her.
"She said that was the best birthday party she ever had. She sat in the living room and talked to people; she was real happy," said Noland.