The Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

The Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Driving the Cades Cove Loop is one of  must do attractions when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You’ll find many structures, walking trails, and pull offs that are worth exploring, but the cantilever barn in Cades Cove with its unique origin and design is one of the stops you definitely should explore.

You’ll find the cantilever barn on the second half of the 11 mile loop through Cades Cove at the Tipton Place.  This type of barn is most commonly found in Sevier County and is mostly unique to the local area. German, Irish, and Swedish settlers brought the 19th century Cantilever barn styles when they settled here, and this barn on the Tipton Place is an architectural wonder!
The overhang design on the barn is what is known as a “cantilever,” and it was perfect for the farmers in the cove. The National Park usually receives 80 inches of rainfall each year, making it one of the rainiest places in the U.S. and with this high level of rainfall and humidity it caused their crops to rot. The overhang was the best solution for this problem.
The cantilever would funnel the rainfall on the roof away from their crop storage cribs.  The open spaces between the cribs kept the structure ventilated allowing air to circulate and reduced the crop spoilage. Live stock could also find shelter underneath the overhang from severe weather or hot, sunny days.

These architectural wonders could have possibly saved farmers big money on their taxes!
There’s a rumor or wise-tale in the Smokies about the unique design of the cantilever barn. Supposedly, the wide, overhanging second story was designed to stay a step ahead of the government and taxes!
Apparently taxes were assessed based on square footage of a structure touching the ground. Hardly a third of a cantilever barn is on ground level.

The structure was built without any modern machinery. If you take the time you can marvel at the incredible detail that goes into cantilever barns. This barn in Cades Cove is truly phenomenal, and worth your time to explore!

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