Namesake: Sugarloaf Mountain in Sevier County

7:20 AM, Nov 19, 2010   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

In the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain in Sevier County, Juanita Williams stores memories of a bygone era in the 150 year old cabin in her back yard.

"This cabin is part of the house my grandma and grandpa lived in.  We bought it in 1966 and restored it," said Williams.  "It's all one room with the fireplace, the little kitchen area, and a bed. In the summer I'll just come over here and sit and just think about the good old days."

For Williams, a peek at Sugarloaf Mountain beside the old cabin also conjures up nostalgic childhood memories of her grandfather. 

"When I was a little kid, my grandfather and I were sitting on the back porch one day and he said, 'Juanita, have you found the gold on the mountain?'  I said, 'I didn't know there was any gold up there.'  The story was that a Union Soldier had hidden some bars of gold up there during the Civil War," laughed Williams.

Sugarloaf Mountain did not get its name from the sweet smell of hidden money.  The term "sugar loaf" describes the shape of the mountain.

Prior to the late 19th century, sugar was not frequently available in the convenient bags of granulated sugar we use today.  Merchants often sold sugar in the form of a molded "loaf."  The solid sugar loaf was packed and tightly wrapped in the shape of a cone.  This sugar cone would sit in the kitchen or on the table.  If someone needed sugar, they would chisel a piece off the sugar loaf.

In those days, nearly everyone knew the shape of a sugar loaf and used the term to describe other items such as tall hats. 

Several mountains around the world are named "sugarloaf" or "sugar loaf" due to their shape.  The most famous is likely Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which is part of the landscape that features the large statue of Jesus.  The cable cars that lead to the top of Mount Sugarloaf were also made famous for being bitten in half by the "Jaws" character in a James Bond movie.

There are numerous mountains named Sugarloaf throughout the United States.  There is a famous ski resort named Sugarloaf in Maine.  North Carolina's Sugarloaf Mountain is in Watauga County.  In addition to the Shere is even another Sugarloaf in southeast Tennessee at the Cherokee National Forest near Ococee.

"I never even thought about why it was called Sugarloaf.  I've lived here all of my life and that is just what it was called. To me, when I look at the mountain, I still think of the gold," laughed Williams.

Although she is yet to discover any hidden treasure, Williams said Sugarloaf Mountain has paid a lifetime of dividends as a wonderful place to call "home, sweet home."

"It is the serenity of this place.  You drive on this little road that leads up here and it's just so peaceful.  That is what I like about it," said Williams.

Send your Namesake suggestions

If there is a place or landmark with a name you would like us to research, send your suggestions to 10News reporter Jim Matheny using the "Namesake Suggestions" form on this page. Be sure to include your name and a note on how to pronounce it in case we use your suggestion on-air. Likewise, please let us know if you do not want us to use your name on-air.

You can also submit suggestions on Jim Matheny's WBIR Facebook page as well as on Twitter @jimmatheny.

Note: Namesake is the renamed title of the series formerly known as 'Why do they call it that?'

Other Namesake Segments

Most Watched Videos