...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little Greenbrier School: day 21

I absolutely love living 20 minutes away from Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Most times, when one visits a National park, it's necessary to prepare and plan your trip so that you'll be sure and see everything you want to see, and do everything you'll want to do, before it's time to leave.  When you live so near a National park, however, you can go every week or more often if you want to.  You can take advantage of all the natural beauty, educational experiences, hiking, and adventuring you want, and not miss a thing.  Not to mention, and this is a huge bonus, you can go in the middle of the week, to avoid the crowds. 

Today we did school in the Park.  We visited Little Greenbrier School, where a school marm in period dress shared with us about the history of the area.
The little school house in the background was built in 1882.  We learned about the building process, building tools, and about a typical school day here, as well as about the families the school served, and their lifestyles.  We learned about prominent families, such as the Walker family, and followed up the program with a 2 1/2 mile hike to the original Walker homestead and cabin.
What a beautiful and peaceful setting.  No wonder the seven sisters whom inherited the property didn't want to give up their 122 acres to the Federal Government, but instead were faced with a condemnation suit.  Ultimately they received just $4750 for their beloved land, with a provision that they could stay and use the land for the remainder of their lives.
 Walking through the land and structures, we really got a feel for what life must have been like.  Beautiful, yes.  But hard.  Newspapers still line the walls, leftover from insulation efforts. 
 Stone fireplaces open to the sky remain from  being used for heating and cooking for so many years.  Electricity and plumbing were never brought into the property.  
A spring house was used as a refrigerator for food storage.

I love learning history.  Each life is such an amazing story, and they all fit together so intricately.  I love tangible reminders, such as the Walker homestead, which give us a link to another time.  John Walker fought for the Union in the Civil War.  He cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln.  Walking through his cabin reminds us that those things occurred not so very long ago.
This area is incredibly rich with history, so much to learn, and tangible reminders at every turn.  It's definitely something to love.


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