VIRAL VIDEO CONFUSION: 'Town abandoned for 100 years' is actually tourist haunt

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image "><span></span></div><span class="caption-text">Photographer&#39;s film about beautiful ghost town was misinterpreted. (Photo&#47;Jordan Liles)</span></div>
Jordan Liles wants to set the record straight: Elkmont, the abandoned town featured in his viral video "Tennessee Wonderland," is beautiful, haunting and historically significant. It was not, however, abandoned for 100 years, only to be discovered by Liles.

Though Liles posted his film in August 2013, it went viral over the weekend, along with social media rumors and news reports that the town had been 'discovered' after going untouched for 100 years.

A Daily Mail article claiming Elkmont had been untouched for 100 years before Liles 'discovered' it.



Many pointed to a Huffington Post article that has more than 300,000 likes as one source implying the misinformation, along with the film itself.

At the beginning of the film is the statement, "In May 2013, I discovered an abandoned neighborhood in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park."

Liles, though, said it was never his intention to make the world think he had found a forgotten town.

Along with a disclaimer under the original statement in his film, Liles posted on his website Tuesday:

"There are also a lot of people who misinterpreted me saying that I "discovered" the Wonderland Hotel. This, of course, is laughable since the hotel is right next to a well-traveled road. When I said "discovered" I meant that I made my own discovery. "Stumbled upon" might have been clearer."

So what about Elkmont, the ghost town that has crept its way into social media stardom?

Tennessee's Elkmont Historic District is a well-traveled tourist area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Built in the early 20th century, the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1990s after the leases were not renewed.

One of the most significant buildings in the district, the Wonderland Hotel, opened in 1912. It attracted tourists because it was accessible only by logging train. The hotel was demolished in 2006 and all that remains is a fireplace, but Liles said he was drawn there.

"My favorite part of the area to explore was around the old brick fireplace," he said. "So much happened here."

Liles' film is mostly a tour as he wanders through Elkmont. At the end, he shows old photos of Elkmont with new photos he took.

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Meanwhile, Liles, who lived in Tennessee for 26 years, appreciates that the film has gone viral again, bringing more attention to an area he loves.

"I have a lot of respect for the land and buildings," he said. "That's why I made the short film."



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