A feature of the Cable Mill display at Cades Cove is the preserved cantilever barn, a design in which the upper story was larger than its base. The design is a 19th century farm structure that is generally found in the Sevier County area. Since the structure was not popular in other areas as well, there’s very little information about them.
These barns featured and overhang for an upper loft. The lofts were used for storage of hay or other materials and the lower crib areas were where livestock was kept. This design allowed animals, which were normally outside, to stand underneath the overhang in order to get out of the sun or rain. The farm animals resting under the eaves in Cades Cove would have included pigs, hogs, chickens, goats and, in wintertime, cattle.
In summer, the Cove’s cattle were kept on the grassy areas, balds, of the Great Smoky Mountains. Gregory’s Bald is one still in existence today that was named for one of the men who made their living looking after the cattle in the summertime.
In addition to the benefits for the livestock, farm equipment could be kept dry if placed under the large eaves of the cantilever barn as there were no posts or walls to get in the way.