Cades Cove Primitive Churches – The Church Journey


January 4, 2021 –

I had the privilege to visit the Primitive Churches at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains. There are 3 primitive churches at this location inside the loop. The Primitive Baptist Church, which was originally established in 1827, can be found by turning left off of Cades Cove Loop Road on the next road after the Oliver Cabin. This congregation was the first of the three churches established in Cades Cove and experienced a major split due to different religious interpretations regarding temperance societies, Sunday School, and missionary work. [1]

Until October of 1832, the church did not have a building and met in members’ homes. The original building was built out of crude, unfinished logs and is not the structure that is in place today. Rather, the current modernly framed structure was constructed in 1887. Since the Primitive Baptist Church backed the Union during the Civil War, the church decided it was too dangerous to meet during the Civil War due to the strong Confederate presence in the area. [1]

These buildings were built by hand if you look closely you will see the handprints in sap on the wood-planked ceiling where the carpenter set the boards by hand. Due to a conflict and resulting division at the Primitive Baptist Church, the Missionary Baptist Church was formed in 1841. Even though the congregants had no church building to meet at, the group of original members alternated meeting at each other’s’ homes. [2]

During the Civil War, this church was not able to safely meet due to political discourse. Following the Civil War, the revival circuit was in full swing and the church experienced solid growth. In 1894, over 50 years after being established, the church was finally able to construct its own building on Hyatt Hill. Shortly thereafter, the membership of the church steadily grew from 40 members to over 100 members. As a result, the church needed a larger building and constructed the current building. The Missionary Baptist Church on Cades Cove Loop Road was completed in 1915. [2]

The Cades Cove Methodist Church, which was initially established in the 1820s, initially met in a simple log structure with a small fire pit and dirt floor. In 1902, the current building was constructed in 115 days at a cost of $115 by the carpenter and pastor John D. Campbell. The cemetery behind the church has over 100 graves and is the second oldest in the Cove. [3]

The reason for two front doors in the structure was that the Methodist church believed men and women needed to meet separate. Although there were two entrances, the Methodist Church did not opt for a physical divider down the middle of the chapel this was also common practice during the timeframe. [3]


It was a cold crisp morning as I drove out to Cades Cove nestled in the Smoky Mountains. Just a few miles down the loop road I was surprised to see a group of painters capturing the splendid landscape around Oliver’s cabin. View was magnified by the golden rays of the sun highlighting peaceful scenery of open fields bordered with trees and mountains in the distance.  


The churches located in the park that provides plenty of wildlife for viewing, and attracts tourist from around the world. My first visit was Cades Cove Methodist Church the wooden white church with double entries doors and then Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church white wooden church. Just off the loop road the Primitive Baptist Church, which was the first church in this area. During my journey it was peaceful spending time in prayer and reflection on life. I ended my trip with a stop at the welcome center.  


As we step into the new year it’s a time bid farewell to 2020 and a time to welcome 2021. Let us look back and appreciate the experiences we had and learn from the mistakes we made. The freshness of the new year, its new enthusiasm; Its wishes, and desires are all new.

2021 starts with a blank canvas full of opportunities. Another stage in your journey, a shifting of scenes of life intersecting the months of the year. What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year. Promises and determination are new a time for new beginnings and new dreams. Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous year by believing. The beginning is the most important part of the work. So, no matter what comes your way today, tomorrow, next week you have in you what it takes to overcome it. Ten years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.

The word MAY leads my wishes for you in 2021.

  • May the joy of Christmas Day linger in your heart.
  • May the whole year be happier, sweeter, and brighter.
  • May your heart be as light as a song.
  • May each day bring you bright happy memories
  • May life treat you great in all the ways
  • May your troubles be few and the year filled with joy, and laughter.
  • May you find a smile for each day of the year.
  • May your stories be filled with positive happenings and successes.
  • May your trust in God stay strong.
  • May your prayers be lifted up.
  • May the year be filled with all that you are working towards.  A blessed year may it be.

May this find you well and happy. God Bless.


Date Visited: 2020 December 15th

Location: Cades Cove, Tennessee.

If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.

May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.

And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – (Acts 2:21)

Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.

May this find you well and happy, God Bless




  1. Written by: The Local Experts Team Retrieved from 2021, January 04, Missionary Baptist Church Historical Structure at Cades Cove (
  2. Written by: The Local Experts Team Retrieved from 2021, January 04, Methodist Church Historical Building –
  3. Written by: The Local Experts Team Retrieved from 2021, January 04, Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove (





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