Honest Abe Log Homes is committed to helping victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires rebuild or build their log or timber fame homes and businesses. We are offering a discount structure that reflects 2015 prices for those affected by the fire. We are engaging in an ongoing effort to work with material suppliers to garner additional discounts on behalf of the customer. We will be dedicating resources and assets to the Gatlinburg area (such as building crews, heavy machinery, etc) to facilitate the building process. Call us today at 800-231-3695. Visit our Gatlinburg Relief page for more.
April Smith Patterson, daughter of Honest Abe Log Home founders, Doug and Janie Smith, shares memories of their home away from home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The home was consumed by wildfire on Monday, Nov. 29, 2016.
Honest Abe Log Homes Owners’ Vacation Home Destroyed in Gatlinburg Wildfires
Our Peaceful Place Held Many Memories
By April Smith Patterson
Peaceful Place. Words of which, at the time, were my father’s description of the family home away from home we built together in the majestic, beautiful and peaceful Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
In 1995, Rick Denton, who was then Honest Abe Log Homes’ president, found property in the Cobbly Nob area in the mountains and decided it would be a great place for a second home. He soon brought Dad on board along with our close friends and builder Joe and Anna Isenberg.
It was then when it began…
Read April's Memory
In 1996, Joe built three Honest Abe Darlington Plan cabins and got them dried in. I remember as a young girl looking forward to being picked up Fridays at school to go work on our family cabin in the mountains. You could not believe the excitement as I anxiously awaited seeing Mom, Dad and my brother, Shane, pick me up to head up to work. It was a family event. We each worked to build and finish this second home. We painted, stained, waxed, built rock walls and such for months. This was the best time of my life, and I thought we were building a lifetime into this home. Our second home. Of course as the seasons changed and winter set in, it became more and more difficult to work in the cold. But, we bundled up and kept working – even though Dad at times forgot to open the vent to the fireplace (only source of heat at the time) and smoked us all out. A few times they had to work without me, and I remember crying, not understanding why I could not go every time to help. Eventually the cabin was completed. We went many weekends and usually spent the Fourth of July holiday there. It truly was our home away from home. We would attend service at the local church in Cosby, go on picnics in the park, go hiking to Laurel Falls and Mt. LeConte, and we’d sometimes bike the Cades Cove loop. We loved to experience the area, the mountains and the nature the Lord made so wonderful. Peaceful place. It was our peaceful place to go. It was our family escape from our norm of hustle and bustle of business. Time together without interruptions of cell phones, TV, Wi-Fi, and technology. Time to sit, think, be together as a family. So many wonderful memories of building a dream. I’ll never forget my brother’s girlfriend, now my sister-in-law, coming to help us paint once. Dad told her she had more paint on her face than the wall. Our good friends Ronnie & Pauletta would often come and help us with projects like building rock walls around the place. I loved when they would come, because Dad would always treat us to the seafood buffet in Pigeon Forge to show appreciation for their help. Being a talkative and energetic young lady, I would ask countless times when we would arrive – so excited to pull up to our cabin. I asked many questions along the way. One that sticks out was a road sign that said “watch for falling rock.” “ I’ll tell ya, sis, if you stop asking so many questions,” Dad promised. I agreed, and he went on to tell of the Native Americans living in the mountains and how they had special names, such as Kokoum, Pocahontas, Big Bear, etc. (Pocahontas was my favorite movie at the time too). “There was a chief,” Dad explained. “He and his wife had a little boy they named Falling Rock, who went off one day and got lost.” Dad said his parents had been searching for him ever since and had even put road signs up asking people to watch out for him. “So you sit back there and watch to see if you see a little Indian boy running around,” Dad said. Well, I of course believed every word he said and watched fervently for the little Indian boy, Falling Rock. I eventually realized that was a big story and the signs really warned about the rocks falling off the sides of the mountain roads, but, hey, Dad was pretty clever and creative to get me to be quiet on the long four-hour journey to the cabin. Throughout the 20 years we had it, we continued to visit our cabin many times. Dad believed in working on projects in order to justify time we played. He always said “work hard, play hard,” but to be honest I remember a lot more working than playing. Each time we went Dad would give me a project to work on, such as staining the kitchen dining table, painting the rocking chairs out front, sweeping, mulching, raking leaves, landscaping, washing the deck and steps or painting trim. Dad loved taking things and making them better, even if they didn’t need to be. Many times we would go out to look at other log homes being built in the Cobbly Nob area and in the Gatlinburg area, too. We’d study them and talk about ways we could improve the ones we were building at Honest Abe. Other times we would hike, bike or just take in the nature and pristine beauty of the mountains. We were a part of the community there, the area and the mountains themselves. I often wished that we could move and live at the cabin in the Smokies. It truly was my favorite place. I would write school reports and even college papers on our home away from home. After all, it was more than a house. It was a new way of life compared to the long hours at work for both Mom and Dad – a chance to escape and breathe in the peacefulness of what the Lord made in that area. The people are wonderful and just like home, and it was just about the perfect oasis for us all. Over time, and after Dad passed away, we would still go and stay. We would go to the gift shows every year and have our own family Christmases there, too. What wonderful memories that we have to cherish for the rest of our lives. We are beyond thankful for the time we had there. We have roots in the mountains, roots that run deep. At this time, however, our hearts go out to the wonderful people of the Gatlinburg community who’ve lost their permanent homes, their family members, everything. For that we are truly grieving, and as a family and a family-owned, Tennessee-born company, we are want to help people get back into their communities, get into new homes where new memories can be made and hearts and lives can begin to heal.