When the first European settlers came to Cades Cove in the early 19th century, they formed the first Christian community in the valley. Today, visitors to Cades Cove in Gatlinburg can explore a series of fascinating historic churches that are maintained by the National Register of Historic Places.
Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church
The Cades Cove Baptist Church was established in 1827 with help from John Oliver and his wife Luraney Frazier Oliver, the first European settlers in the valley. Before the church’s formation, Cades Cove residents needed to travel through the Smoky Mountains in order to attend Sunday services in Millers and Weavers Cove.
During the 1830s, a split occurred in Baptist churches across the nation. Some Baptists believed that missionary work was permitted by the Bible, while others argued that it was not allowed. In 1841, the Cades Cove Baptist Church expelled its members who advocated missionary work and renamed themselves the Primitive Baptist Church.
The Primitive Baptist Church held meetings in a log cabin for sixty years until 1887, when the white frame church you can visit today was constructed. John Oliver and his wife are both buried in the cemetery at the Primitive Baptist Church.
Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church
When thirteen members of the Cades Cove Baptist Church were dismissed due to their support of missionary work, they formed the Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church in May of 1841. This small small community resorted to meeting in private homes or in other church buildings.
After the Civil War, the Missionary Baptist Church’s congregation began to grow, and in 1894 an official church was built on Hyatt Hill. This revival continued into the next century, and a new building was constructed in 1915 at the church’s current location.
Cades Cove Methodist Church
Much like the Primitive Baptist Church, the Cades Cove Methodist Church also met in a log structure for many years. During the Civil War and Reconstruction the methodists was troubled by internal divisions which resulted in a splinter group which left and formed the Hopewell Methodist church.
In 1902, however, the carpenter/pastor John D. McCambell brought stability to the congregation by constructing a beautiful white frame church. The church is well known for its two front door design, which was very typical in the 19th century.
If you are planning a visit to the historic churches in Cades Cove in Gatlinburg, be sure to stay over in one of the convenient condominiums owned by Cherokee Lodge. The Cherokee Lodge offers luxury condos in Pigeon Forge with stunning views of the Smoky Mountains, a beautiful swimming pool, and a top notch workout and exercise center. Give us a call at 877-918-5900 to book a condo for your next adventure in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!