Arrowmont began as a settlement school for mountain folks. It opened in 1912 as the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School, named for the Pi Beta Phi fraternity. In addition to providing an education for mountain children, the school promoted local handicrafts. In 1926, Arrowcraft Shop opened in Gatlinburg as a retail outlet for local crafts.
By the mid-1960s Sevier County took over public education, and the settlement school turned its focus to crafts. In 1970 the main studio complex was built. Today, Arrowmont is known for its contemporary arts-and-crafts education. Adults from around the country come here for one- and two-week residential programs in clay, paper, metals, fiber, glass, enamels, weaving, basketry, sculpture, polymer clay, woodturning, and woodworking, among others.
Arrowmont Galleries (free) are open year-round, Monday–Saturday 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Each year more than 10 juried, invitational, themed, and media-oriented exhibitions are held. The art supply store and bookshop stocks tools, art materials, and other specialty items.
Located next to Arrowmont’s retail outlet is the Ogle Cabin (556 Parkway). Built of rough-hewn logs around 1807, this cabin was the first homestead in Gatlinburg. The location was chosen by William Ogle, but he died before his family could make the move from South Carolina to the mountains of East Tennessee. His widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, and her seven children, together with her brother Peter Huskey and his family, moved to Gatlinburg—then called White Oak Flats—in 1807.
The Ogle family remained in the cabin until about 1910, and in 1921 it was sold to the Pi Beta Phi fraternity, which converted it into a clinic and later a museum. Ogle and Huskey remain two of the most common names in Gatlinburg.
You can learn more about Gatlinburg’s history by picking up a copy of the Walking and Driving Tour of Historic Gatlinburg, available at visitors centers.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition