Jack Huff profile

JACKSON. MISS . THURSDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 31, 1940 GROWING PAINS by phillips IJEsqutrt Feature. Inc "You're Just the man I've been wanting to see, -reneral. -reneral. I've been having a little trouble with this lately." Roving Reporter By Ernie Pyle- Pyle- LE CONTE LODGE, Great Smokies Park, Oct. 29. Jack Huff is a mountain man. All of his 30-odd 30-odd 30-odd years , have been spent here in the Smokies. And for 17 of those years he has been the entrepreneur entrepreneur at the top of Mt. Le Conte. He owns the Le Conte Lodge. Seven months of the year he feeds and beds and maybe entertains the hikers and horsemen who come up the trail. Jack Huff was just out of high school when he first came to the top of Mt. Le Conte, and he had visions of building a mountain-top mountain-top mountain-top tent camp for hiking vacationers. vacationers. That was long before there was any thought of a National Park, and before there was even a horse trail up- up- here. Everything that came up had to come on men's backs. Today three pack horses arrive every afternoon loaded with supplies, supplies, and the lodge consists of a whole row of cabins, and two small lodges, and a big house for the Huffs own living quarters. And Jack is still building. Jack Huff seems timid at first, but he really enjoys talking to people people if he likes them. They say he can size up a new arrival in ten seconds. If the new arrival is a heel, Jack Huff is polite but his conversation becomes a minimum. Few vacationers can out-think out-think out-think this product of the Smokies. He listens nightly to the radio news; he absorbs ; scores of passionate orations on world affairs from his guests before the big fireplace; he reads the papers and magazines. He is a man of many abilities, too. He builds his own cabins; he has a flair for architecture; construction is his hobby. And he weaves. On the big loom in the dining room he has woven all the lovely curtains for the lodge windows. windows. - , He got his weaving, among other things, from the Pi Phi Settlement School down In Gatlinburg. That is a school founded 28 years ago by the college sorority, to bring a better education to the mountaineers. mountaineers. Pretty Pi Phis come from all over to teach there. A girl named Pauline Whaling came down from the north, to teach the mountaineers. She was out of Monmouth College 4n Illinois, Illinois, and Northwestern University. But whether she taught, or got taught. I can't quite decide. For she married Jack Huff, and came to the mountain with him. And when their little boy was born, he came to the mountain too a husky, husky, tow-headed tow-headed tow-headed example of a good life. For seven years Pauline Whaling has been on the mountain, working working with her own hands, helping run things. She Is . beautiful in her heavy boots and leather jacket. She leaps around the terraces of the lodge like a gazelle. She was up at 4 this morning to see Jack off on an early trip down the mountain. She herself has hiked the tough eight-mile eight-mile eight-mile Newfound Gap trail in two hours flat. She is bountifully happy. "Up here is peace," she says. A mountaineer's strength is in his heart, and not necessarily in a big body. Jack Huff weighs only 150 pounds, and stands sort of folded up with his hands in his pockets. But his walking feats are astounding. astounding. He has walked 15,000 miles up and- and- down this mountainside! He kept count of his round trips 'until 'until three years : ago, and at that ime they had passed 1000. .It is seven miles each way, and exactly a mile gained in altitude. He has often made two round trips in one day, packing great loads up the trail on his back. There are some ; mighty: men in these mountains. Listen to this story:' Andy Huff is Jack's father. He owns the big Mountain View Hotel down in Gatlinburg. He has lived down there for 40 years, but he has never seen his son's lodge up here, although it's only two vhours by horseback. "I just havent got time to go," says Aandy . Huff. - But Jack's mother saw Le Conte Lodge before she died. She made one trip. Just one. That trip sounds like a legend, but it's true.. She came up on her son's back! It was 14 years ago. Mrs. Huff was a semi-invalid. semi-invalid. semi-invalid. She wanted to see the sunset from the peak before she died. So Jack made a light wooden chair. He put arms on it for her, and a board rest for her feet. He put her in it; they lifted her onto his back, and ran the straps over his shoulders. Mrs. Huff weighed 90 pounds. In her lap she carried a kitten. Jack Huff, packing his mother on his back, made those seven miles on the top of Mt. Le Conte in exactly five hours. He stopped only a few times, and that was for his mother to rest, rather than him. "She's the only person who ever came up the mountain backwards," backwards," he says. They still talk about it with awe around Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg. : Mrs. Huff stayed a week on the mountain, in a tent. But it rained all the time. She never saw the sunset. Finally the dampness became became too much for her. One afternoon afternoon Jack wrapped her in a raincoat, put her into her chair, and packed her back down the mountairl. Soon after that he started , building building a long cabin for her, so she would have a drier place to stay the next time. But she didn't live to see It. That old cabin Is the original house of today's Le Conte Lodge. Jack would like to keep it, for sentiment. But he says it isn't built right, and soon it will have to come down. THE OLD HOME TOWN WREN HE SPOKE IH CXA TOWM THE COYS PUT A UE DETECTOR THE PLATFORM THE MACHINE ' BLEW A FUSE V TWO MINUTES ANt VJRECKEO SIXTEEN RADIOS ANt A WASM;n5 MACHNE on vine street:: A 2 jgfci REPORTS FROM

Clipped from
  1. Clarion-Ledger,
  2. 31 Oct 1940, Thu,
  3. Page 15

lessonsilearnedonhigh Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in