Picture of the Day - October 6, 2009
"Door to the past"
|Photo and narrative by
(Click on the photo for a larger view)
This HDR image gives you a glimpse into life for the early residents
of what is now the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You duck
into the Walker Sisters' cabin through the low doorway (they were
built that way not because people were shorter, but because it would
let less heat escape when opened in the winter.)
Here's some info on the remarkable lives of the sisters Walker,
gleaned from online sources. A visit to their cabin is truly a
voyage to an earlier time...
Deep in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies
the farm of the Walker Sisters. The sisters' cabin stands as a
monument of Smoky Mountain heritage from the despair days of the
Depression. The sisters were from a family of 11 children, four boys
and seven girls. The boys and one sister, Sarah Caroline, moved away
to different parts of the country. This left the farm to six of the
sisters, Hettie Rebecca, Margaret Jane, Polly, Louisa Susan, Martha
Ann and Nancy Melinda.
They believed in self-sufficiency and were known to say that their
land produced everything they needed except sugar, soda, coffee and
salt. The farm contained a grape arbor, an orchard, an herb and
vegetable garden, sheep, hogs, fowl and milk cows, according to the
National Park Services "At Home in the Smokies Handbook #125."
The walls of their home were decorated with newspaper where dried
food, seed bags and spice racks dotted the walls. Their cabin
represented the way of life of the mountains. As the government
purchased land throughout the Smokies to build the national park,
the sisters refused to leave their way of life. They would not sell
their land. In January of 1941, however, the sisters succumbed to
the national park and sold their 123 acres to the government for
$4,750. This sale included a lifetime lease to the sisters.
The Saturday Evening Post wrote an article on the sisters in 1946.
As a result, their farm became a tourism hot spot. The sisters
accepted the tourism and sold mountain souvenirs to tourists. A sign
was placed on Highway 73 to indicate the location of the farm. As
the years passed away, so did the sisters. By 1953, there were just
two sisters left, Margaret Jane and Louisa. At the ages of 80 and
72, they asked the park superintendent to help them with the farm
and take down the Highway 73 sign. The park complied and helped the
Walker farm until the last sister, Louisa, passed away in 1964.
Today, the small cabin of the Walker sisters still rests deep within
the woods of the Smoky Mountains. A constant reminder of the six
determined sisters and the pride of their mountain heritage.
The camera and settings used to capture this image:
Camera: Nikon D40
Focal length: 35mm
Shutter speed: .62 seconds
Name: Rick Rouse
Town: Abingdon, VA
An outstanding image and a very compelling history lesson. Thanks a
bunch for both Gordon.
Town: Spokane, WA
Excellent photo Gordon and I also really enjoyed what you had to
write about the Walker sisters. It was very interesting!! I have
been watching the series on PBS about out National Parks. I have not
seen anything about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
although I am sure there has been something there. I might have
missed some of it, but it has been very interesting to watch and
learn all of the stories behind the parks. I really enjoy some of
these old places that you photograph and your use of HDR is spot on
here. There is just so much detail that you are able to pull out of
the photo with it's use. Great work!!
Name: Ed Morrison
Town: Dunwoody, GA
Exceptionally well done!!!!
Town: Gatlinburg, TN
Thank you all for your kind comments. I think I should clarify the
“history lesson” about the Walkers sisters is not my own writing. As
I noted it was gleaned from online information which I found on
this page, which is part of the very informative site of the
Smoky Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau. Credit given where
credit is due!
Town: Abingdon, VA
Thanks for the clarification Gordon. Still a mighty fine photo and
very interesting read!
Town: Buffalo, NY
That's a great cabin shot Gordon. Very well done HDR. In fact, I
missed that the first time through and only caught it in Ron Tree's
comment. The mark of the master is that you can't tell anything was
done - and you certainly achieved that here. Great photo, great
story as well. Thanks for sharing that.
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