We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Remnant of a Once Thriving Lumber Town in the Smokies

Three and a half miles north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, a right turn into Smokemont will lead to a campground and horseback riding stables. But hidden in the trees there’s also a white chapel, the lone remaining structure from a once-thriving Smokemont community. The Baptist church, sometimes referring to as Lufty Church (short for Oconaluftee) was formed around 1829, but the current building was erected in 1896. Like all of the Park’s surviving old buildings, the church’s doors are always open.

Originally called Bradleytown, the town of Smokemont became the headquarters for Champion Fibre Company’s massive logging and sawmill operation in the early 1900s. At the time, Champion ran the world’s largest paper mill in Canton, North Carolina, a mill that’s still running today. Smokemont had homes, businesses, a school, the logging mill, commissary, a club house, and even a hotel. In the early 1920s, the sawmill produced 45,000 feet of lumber and pulp wood per day.

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