In Cades Cove, corn was the most important crop. This vital grain provided a food source for the people and the livestock. Without corn, the occupants of Cades Cove would have starved!
Once the pioneers harvested their corn, they would place the crop in the corn crib. The corn, which was still on the cob, would naturally dry out as the air circulated through the slats in the corn crib. In addition to the initial preservation of the crop, the corn crib would also ensure that the crop stayed dry and safe.
The open slats did provide air circulation, but they also allowed pests and rodents to enter the area with the crop. To prevent the rodents and other pests from consuming the corn, the cribs were elevated off the ground. The simple design of a roofed bin elevated on posts allowed for easy access to the food all year.
On a regular basis, the corn would be taken to one of the seven mills operating in Cades Cove – it is quite possible that the corn stored in this corn crib was ground at the Cable Mill a brief walk away! The corn was a huge part of the daily diet in the form of cornbread, grits, hominy, and other uses.