Religion was an important part of life for early settlers of the Cades Cove region. Churches and religious ceremonies brought the community together and acted as a strong binding force. Among the surviving Cades Cove buildings are several churches. While a majority of settlers were Baptist and built Baptist churches, there was also a Methodist minority which began congregating as early as the 1820s. First meeting around bonfires, then progressing to a series of meeting houses and log cabins, it would take nearly 80 years for a proper Methodist Church to be built.
Today, the Methodist Church stands as one of Cades Cove’s most treasured buildings. Famously constructed in 1902 for just 115 days for $115 dollars by Rev. John E. McCampbell, the modest timber building is now carefully maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Sitting on the edge of a forest clearing, the church is accessible through the Cades Cove ring road along the Rich Mountain Road turnoff.
The Methodist Church is the second oldest of all Cades Cove churches and is backed by a cemetery containing approximately 100 graves. One of the features that makes the church unique is its two mirrored entrances. This was originally built so that men had a separate entrance from women and children. Topping the one-room church is a small steeple.
The charm and beautiful surrounding of the church attract thousands of visitors each year, especially in the fall when the forest frames the white building in wonderful hues of orange, yellow and red. It also plays host to a number of weddings for those seeking a rural setting for their nuptials. Along with the Primitive and Missionary Baptist Churches, the Methodist Church makes up a cluster of religious establishments located within Cades Cove.