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Smoky Mountains

Hiking Club

Centennial Service Project at the Messer Cabin

Both the Whaley family and the Messers had cabins and homesteads in the Greenbrier area. The very first SMHC publication, the 1926 leaflet “handbook,” stated, “Plans have been made for erecting a club house at some central point in the Great Smokies.” In discussions with Arno Cammerer, in his role as Associate Director of National Parks, he told a group from the Club that “I don’t see why you fellows couldn’t have a place back in the wilds, maybe Huggins Hell, where when you get too old to hike, you could sit in the sun on the porch and tell lies to one another.” The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was, of course, not yet established and the Messer site, with its standing chimney and extant barn, was felt to be ideal.

Over a period of about two years, from 1934-1936, Club members constructed a cabin around the remaining chimney. After the park came into existence, a lease agreement was eventually worked out, but that expired in 1976. Many people still have wonderful memories of “vacation camps” and social gatherings centered around the cabin.

Details are still pending, but for this service project, we hope to perform general cleaning, minor repairs, and other projects to be defined in conjunction with the Park Service. Come out for a day of work and share stories about the “Cabin in the ‘Brier!” Watch for registration details in June 2024.

Questions? Contact Philip Royer at

For information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit the NPS website or call the information line at (865) 436-1200.

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club

PO Box 51592

Knoxville, TN 37950-1592

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