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100 Year Old Great Smoky Mountains Church Earns National Recognition

great smoky mountains
February 13, 2021

The Great Smoky Mountains are a place where history meets beauty. Throughout the area, visitors can explore historic structures and experience breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. All of this holds true for one Smoky Mountain church that earned national recognition this year.

church pews

Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church was built in 1891, and has been a part of Sevier County for over 140 years. Even though the congregation is only filled with approximately 20 dedicated individuals, the church is more than a worship center. The church has now made the National Register of Historic Places, and shines right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains on Boyds Creek Highway.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of historical structures across America that are worthy of preservation. The register aims to protect historic sites for appreciation by visitors.

The National Register does not base their decision to place a church on the register based on its value as a place of worship. Executives evaluate the structure and determine its historical value. They found that Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church had some unusual structural components; the Queen Anne style was used, including decorative shingles and half-timbering as opposed to the traditional Gothic Revival style with pointy arches and pointy steeples. Although the Queen Anne style wasn’t unusual for the time period, it was strange to see that style used for a church structure.

Other Great Smoky Mountains Churches in the Area

If exploring historic buildings is your thing, then you have to visit some of the other beautiful churches in the Smoky Mountains. Keep reading to learn more about these structures you can explore:

Primitive Baptist Church

primitive baptist church cades cove

The Primitive Baptist Church along the Cades Cove Loop is one of the popular Great Smoky Mountains churches you can see while you’re in town. Before the Baptist Church was officially founded, congregation members fell into two camps: those that believed the Bible allowed missionary work and those who believed it did not. This caused a split in the Baptist Church, and half the congregation founded Primitive Baptist Church in 1841. The building you see today was built in 1887, but the congregation met in various other buildings before this one was built.

Methodist Church

Another church along the Cades Cove Loop you’ll want to see is the Methodist Church. Methodists came to the area in the 1820s, but the building was built in 1902. It took 115 days for the church to be built, and it cost $115. The two doors on the exterior were so men and women could enter and sit on opposite sides of the church.

Missionary Baptist Church

missionary baptist church

The Missionary Baptist Church in Cades Cove was established in 1841. Prior to the church being built, members met in each others’ homes. The church had a building on Hyatt Hill built in 1894, but the congregation continued to grow, so a new building was built in 1915. This is the last building along the Cades Cove Loop!

Now you know more about how Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places and other Great Smoky Mountains churches you can explore. Want to know what else you can do when you’re in town? Look through our Luxury Pass to see which attractions you’ll get free tickets to when you book one of our cabins!

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