Rocky River Motel

Posted by blogger in Gatlinburg Haunts
Rocky River Motel - Photo

You can find this motel right smack dab in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. A lot of people live here instead of just renting a room. This is home to many people. The motel overlooks Branch Creek and downtown Gatlinburg. The motel has a balcony for each room so that they can look at the river. The motel was first opened back in 1936 and was considered a national park in 1940. The motel is fully operational to this day. There is a lot of beauty surrounding and inside this motel. However, that doesn’t keep the dark secrets from lurking out.


About Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is considered a mountain resort city. It is located in Sevier County in Tennessee. Most people refer to this as a small town that is about forty miles to the southeast of a more well-known Knoxville. The town has just under four thousand residents. Many people come here for vacation because of its location just below the Smoky Mountains. Plus, the mountains are part of the national park in the Smoky Mountains. Before the town was named Gatlinburg, it was known as White Oak or White Oak Flats.

History of Gatlinburg

Native American and Cherokee hunters would use a footpath that was called the Indian Gap Trail. They would use this to go hunting and shoot game that was in the forest of the Smoky Mountains. This would connect with what is known as the Great Indian warpath. This is known as Pigeon Forge, Sugarlands, and Gatlinburg today.

It was in 1856 that a post office would be established in a general store that was owned by Radford Gatlin. This is what would give the town the name Gatlinburg. Keep in mind that Radford would not arrive in White Oak Flats until 1854. He would constantly cause problems and would bicker with his neighbors. It was in 1857 that he had created a full-blown feud between him and the Ogles. This was always said to be over the main road of the town. Right before the Civil War, Gatlin had been a Confederate sympathizer. He was at odds with many of the residents of the town. Keep in mind that most of the town was pro-Union. This is when he was forced out of the town that they named after him. This occurred in 1859.

Despite having many anti-slavery items, most of the communities in the Smoky Mountains tried to remain as neutral as possible during the war. However, this would change when Colonel William holland Thomas would occupy the town. They were here to help protect the Salt Peter Mines that were located at Alum Cave.

It was in 1880 that there was a very huge boom in the lumber industry. Forests throughout the southern part of the United States were all being harvested. This meant that lumber companies would need more wood and would push into the Appalachian mountains.  By 1900, Andrew Jackson Huff would build a sawmill in the town. It was also at this time that the residents of the town would house loggers and this would help supplement their income. During this time, tourists were also becoming popular in the town. They were drawn to this small town by the writings of famous authors.

It was in 1912 that there was a school established in Gatlinburg. This was established after the region had taken a survey and they were found to be in need of educational facilities for children. Locals were skeptical at the time and worried that a fraternity would be religious or for propagandists. However, the enrollment of the school would rise from thirty-three to over 130 in just one year. It would allow education for the local children and the staff had a local market for their crafts.

Because the population was growing and there were more tourists than ever before, the need for a local motel was needed. This was when the Rocky River Motel would come into the picture. It would not be thought for a while, however, it would be completed in 1936. The motel would house many people. It would house locals and visitors alike.


About Rock River Motel

Rock River Motel is also known as Rocky waters Motor Inn. This has been run for generations and people call it their home away from home. Vacationing and staying at this motel is a great way to become part of nature. There are private balconies for each room so that the guests can overlook the Cliff Branch Creek that is located in downtown Gatlinburg. The balconies are directly on the river. This means that guests can enjoy the sound of the flowing water along with the smell of a fireplace when they are relaxing. Wood burning fireplaces are only available from October through March. The motel has thirty-six rooms that were built in 1953. The other buildings around are used for shops. There is also a beautiful lobby that the motel features as well.

History of the Motel

The motel was first opened in 1936. It was one of the first motels to open after the Smoky Mountain Park had opened two years prior. The park was officially made a national park in 1940 under Franklin Roosevelt. It has had several owners throughout the years, however, it has remained the same motel for all those years. It is still operational and offering guests a beautiful vacation experience to this day.


Paranormal Activity

Many people have come and gone from the motel. People have lived there for extended periods of time and others just a night or two. However, no matter how long people have stayed, they have all reported something along the same lines. They know that they are not alone in the hotel. They are there with another spirit or entity.

One person stated that they lived at the motel for about three weeks. It was during this time that they would encounter two separate incidents. The first incident was a very loud knock on their door. This was a clear knock that could not be mistaken. However, they went to the door and opened it. There was no one on the other side. Plus, they looked to see if there was anyone in sight who would have done it and there was no one. The next instance was the clock on their wall would go counter-clockwise. It would run backward. Plus, the last thing that this couple noticed was an orb flying across their room in the dark.

Another person had stayed here for a while because they were down on their luck. However, they had encountered something completely different. They had encountered all the stuff that was listed above, however, their paranormal experience took one step further. This person would state that they saw a woman crawl out of the doorway of her bathroom. The woman who crawled out just as quickly crawled back in.


No matter what you call the hotel, motel, or inn there are strange things happening. Whether or not you believe in paranormal activity, you have to check out this beautiful place. If you are going just for the story then you are in for a treat. However, while you are there take a look at the beautiful surroundings that are there. Enjoy nature and the history of the town. Just remember, with an old building, it comes to a lot of different tales and stories. That is why if you visit the motel, let us know if you experience anything unusual. If you do, don’t be scared. The spirits roaming have never harmed or tried to harm anyone. They are just there to play pranks and scare you a little. Take the time to explore and get to know this old town.