What began as a logging town in the early years of the 20th century evolved into a summer colony for wealthy families from Knoxville, Chattanooga, and elsewhere in Tennessee. In 1910, Little River Lumber Company deeded a tract of 50 acres of land to some prominent Knoxvillians who belonged to a fishing and hunting club called the Appalachian Club. Later, exclusive hunting and fishing rights on a 40,000-acre tract above Elkmont were sold to the club and many cottages were built as summer getaways. Other prominent east Tennessee families bought land here and built the Wonderland Hotel. Eventually, the park was established, taking the Elmont land. Parts of the Elkmont community were placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1994. Today, Elkmont is primarily a campground, although some of the original 74 cottages remain along Jakes Creek and Little River. Most of the cottages are just south of the campground—follow the Elkmont Nature Trail. The Wonderland Hotel, in disrepair,
began to collapse in 2005–06, and the Park Service demolished most of what was left. The remains of the hotel are just northwest of the campground. In recent years, the Park Service has been stabilizing and restoring several homes along Jakes Creek. The Spence Cabin is now open to the public—it is rented for group events April to mid-November for $150-$200 a day. Some 18 cottages in "Daisy Town" are being restored, but more than 50 other cottages have been, or are slated to be, torn down, despite objections from some conservation groups.