Blackberry Life

From Then to Now

John and Susan Keller stepped into a misty morning on Blackberry Mountain and crossed the Firetower porch toward the Watchman Cabins. “My granddaddy would never believe this,” said Susan.

Three of the Watchman Cabins are made from the wood of the cabin home Susan’s great grandfather, Eleven Hitch, built in the 1800’s. The Hitch Cabin was a dogtrot style, two-story home. Susan’s grandfather, William Hitch, spent his life farming the surrounding acreage and living off the East Tennessee land.

When William grew and built a new brick home for his family, he cut a large opening in the wall of the old cabin to use as a place to store their seed cleaner. The cabin remained on the land, wearing with age, preserving the history of the Hitch family.

Matt Smith, Director of Development for Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain, knew the authentic and historic style of the cabin was perfect for Blackberry Mountain. When he acquired the cabin from John and Susan, he carefully measured the openings and windows, and the Watchman Cabin design took shape from those measurements.

The large opening that was cut for the seed cleaner became the frame for the full-wall windows that now open the cabins to the incredible surrounding mountain view. “I think my grandfather would be delighted,” said Susan. “He would have been disappointed to let the cabin just wither away. To have it used for something like this gives it new life.”

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