Elijah Oliver, the son of John and Lucretia Oliver, was born in Cades Cove in 1824. Today you can visit the old Elijah Oliver Place via a short, easy 1.0 mile roundtrip walk from the Cades Cove Loop Road.
Elijah moved his family out of the cove prior to the Civil War but later bought this property and returned to raise his family there in 1865. Oliver, who was known as an excellent hunter, was a deacon and clerk in the Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church for 37 years.
The site actually consists of several buildings in addition to the cabin giving one a rare glimpse of a complete Appalachian pioneer homestead.
The Elijah Oliver cabin is a hewn log structure which rests on a stone foundation. The kitchen, in the back of the home, was once a separate cabin belonging to another family but it was brought to the site and attached to the living quarters.
You will also notice a small, boxed-in room on the right side of the front porch. This is what was called a “Stranger Room” and was used for overnight guests who were traveling through the area.
Other structures still on display at the Elijah Oliver Place include a smokehouse, springhouse, corn crib and chicken coop. The Olivers, like most area families of the day were almost entirely self-sufficient and raised nearly everything they needed themselves.
Parking for the trail to the Elijah Oliver Place is on the left at the 4.6 mile mark from the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road. The trail begins to the right on the other side of the road from the parking area. The trail is a wide, flat, graveled path that begins in open areas. You’ll soon pass over a shallow stream and you’ll also notice a path leading to the right for the Wet Bottom Trail., which connects with the Cooper Road Trail. At 0.2 mile you’ll pass a large, fairly modern barn on your right. This barn, made with wood-siding, was built in the 1930’s.
Soon thereafter you’ll enter the woods for the remainder of the easy hike to Elijah Oliver Place which you’ll reach at the 0.5 mile mark. After visiting the homestead you may also choose to continue the trail on to the Abrams Falls Trail parking area.
The Elijah Oliver Place is a short, pleasant hike that will give you a little glimpse of what life was like for the early pioneers of Cades Cove.