Historic Places - Perry's Camp

Sevier County, Tennessee was established September 18, 1794 and covers about 6,000 square miles.  There are three distinct regions in Sevier County, Appalachian Mountain region to the north, Foothills region in the central portion, and the Great Valley of East Tennessee, which stretches 9,200 square miles across Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Since the counties establishment, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville, the eighth oldest city in Tennessee.  As with an old county throughout the world, their is always historic buildings and places that still remain today.  Sevier County is no exception.  There are many historic buildings that make up part of the history of Sevier County that are still standing today.  Some of these buildings/places have made their way to the United States National Registry of Historic Places.  Because their are so many important buildings/places within Sevier County it is near impossible to hit on all of these in one sitting.  We will choose one place of significance each month to discuss.

This month's historic place is Perry's Camp.

Perry's Camp, now known as Flat Branch Cottages, was founded in 1928 by Charlie Perry.  Charlie Perry developed the camp where Flat Branch joins the Little Pigeon River as a tourist resort.  Perry's Camp is located between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and was one of the first tourist courts in the area.  The site originally included a restaurant with a living quarters upstairs and eleven cabins.

Perry was very innovative and included many artifacts in his development as part of his goal to expand the site in the next twenty years.  He made a dam across the river to divert water through a powerhouse which generated electricity for the resort.  The only access to cabins on the east side of the river was by a swing bridge built by Perry.  He hung a disabled moonshine still outside the restaurant for advertisement.  A water wheel turned a fan in the dining room.

In 1949, Charlie Perry was murdered.  In 1950, Sevierville business man Cliff Davis purchased the property and operated it for a couple of years.  he converted the restaurant into a gift shop.  In 1952, the property was purchased by Mack and Agnes Marshall who reopened the restaurant and continued to rent the cabins. In the late 1950's, the restaurant, dam, swing bridge, ant six cabins were demolished because US-441 was improved and widened due to the increasing tourist traffic.

The chestnut wood from the restaurant walls was used for the ceiling in the log house, the ceiling fan was placed on the porch of the log house, and the water wheel was moved from behind the restaurant up the hill to its current location.

Perry's camp was one of the first tourist sites in East Tennessee and one of few which has retained most of its construction originality in the four cabins and log house which still exist.  As a result, Perry's Camp was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on October 30, 1992.  Three of the four cabins are still rented to tourists April through October.

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