Fit to a tea

Gatlinburg Garden Club event spotlights need to restore famed cabin
May. 19, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

The Garden Club hosted its annual May tea on Thursday at Hughes Hall on the campus of Arrowmont.

The club was founded in 1937 on the campus of the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School, and its mission is two-fold: to beautify the homes and highways of Gatlinburg and to preserve the areas wildlife and forests.

Member Bea Terry said the club’s origins can be traced back to the influence of the Pi Beta Phi weavers and the settlement school, so this year’s location had historical significance as well.

“It’s nice to come back here for the tea,” said President Marty Fairbanks.

Jane Dean, one of the club’s long-time members, said she became involved at the invitation of her neighbors. “I’m a people person, so I really enjoy being active in the organization,” she said.

Terry, however, was drawn to the club due to her interest in the restoration of the historic Lucinda Ogle log cabin, which is just one of a myriad of projects the club is currently sponsoring. Ogle was a founding member of the club, and is heralded as the “First Wildflower Pilgrim,” for her role in creating the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage held in the spring.

The goal of the Ogle cabin restoration project is to rebuild the cabin adjacent to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center, where it will function as a museum of mountain folklore.

“We have quite a few artifacts from the cabin and plants from Lucinda’s garden,” Terry said. “The plants are being cared for by garden members until they can be replanted at the cabin.”

“When we moved here six years ago, the cabin was standing at the bottom of Ski Mountain Road, and my husband and I just fell in love with it. I learned soon thereafter that it was being sold, and that the garden club was taking over the renovation,” she said. “I think it’s a worthy project, and I feel very passionate about it.”

The tea is held each year as a social event and to encourage local residents to learn about the club and its projects.