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J. Fred Baumann Papers Regarding Elkmont, Tenn.

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2053

This collection houses correspondence, minutes, sketched maps, membership lists, newspaper articles, bylaws, deeds, wills, rough architectural drawings, photographs, and a VHS tape documenting the Elkmont community in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The bulk of the material dates from the 1980s and 1990s and documents the National Park Service's struggle to evict the area's residents so that the structures could be razed and the land returned to its natural state. Also included are abstracts of the original deeds to the houses in the community and materials showing the operations of the Appalachian Club.

Dates

  • 1839-1999

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

2.56 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection houses correspondence, minutes, sketched maps, membership lists, newspaper articles, bylaws, deeds, wills, rough architectural drawings, photographs, and a VHS tape documenting the Elkmont community in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The bulk of the material dates from the 1980s and 1990s and documents the National Park Service's struggle to evict the area's residents so that the structures could be razed and the land returned to its natural state. Also included are abstracts of the original deeds to the houses in the community and materials showing the operations of the Appalachian Club.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Frederick Baumann was born to Joseph Frederick and Halle (Harwood) Baumann in Knoxville, Tennessee on August 28, 1923. He graduated from Knoxville High School in 1942 and studied at the University of Tennessee before serving in the 52nd Fighter Group of the Army Air Corps as a P-51 pilot during World War II. After being discharged, Baumann completed his studies and graduated with his B.S. in Business Administration in 1948. For most of his professional career, he worked with the J.C. Penny Company in such cities as Knoxville, Jacksonville, Fla., Macon, Ga., and Miami, Fla. Baumann was also an outdoor enthusiast, spending sixty-one summers at his Elkmont cottage and participating actively in the Appalachian Club. In addition, he took an interest in military history and wrote a number of articles for the Air Force Museum Magazine as well as a memoir entitled From Freshman to Fighter Pilot. J. Fred Baumann died in Knoxville on December 22, 2008. He was survived by his wife, Mary (Shankland) Baumann, and children, Beverly (Baumann) Coleman and Joseph Frederick Baumann III.

The Elkmont community was established in the early 1900s when a number of people bought land from the Little River Lumber Company and constructed summer cottages. The land became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1930s, and many householders accepted cash settlements in return for a lifetime lease on their properties. Once the lease holder died, the land would revert to the National Park Service. In 1950, the leases were extended to 1972 so that electricity could be installed. The Elkmont Preservation Committee obtained an additional 20-year extension in 1972, with several families who refused to accept the terms involved procuring extensions expiring on December 31, 2001. When the final 20-year extension expired, Elkmont residents attempted to secure a new extension and sparked debate over whether such an extension was legal or moral. Supporters argued that very little land would be gained by demolishing Elkmont, that the Elkmont community did not impact the area negatively, and that many residents cherished their vacation homes and the memories associated with them; opponents charged that Elkmont residents had used their wealth to purchase special treatment, noting that the original settlers had been extremely well-to-do and had used their money to arrange to keep their property when other poorer residents of the park had been summarily evicted. Some also believed that the Elkmont community constituted a financial drain on the Park because landholders paid neither rent nor taxes on their cottages. In late 1992, the National Park Service announced that the leases would not be extended and most tenants were forced to leave by early 1993. The Elkmont Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 over the objections of those who believed that its newfound historic importance was merely another ploy, inaugurating a conflict between the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office (which wanted to preserve the area in full) and the NPS (which wanted to eliminate all trace of Elkmont). The NPS eventually moderated its stance and the final Memorandum of Agreement (signed in 2009) identified 19 structures (about 40%) for preservation. Both Spence Lodge and the Appalachian Clubhouse were made available for day-use rental in order to render the proposed preservation fiscally feasible.

Arrangement

This collection consists of a single box.

Acquisition Note

J. Fred Baumann donated these papers to Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480