The Oldest Retail Business in Gatlinburg
When Shirl Compton opened The Wood Whittlers in 1944 in a one-room log cabin on Roaring Fork Creek, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had only been open a decade, and the City of Gatlinburg was not yet officially incorporated. With the tens of thousands of visitors to the National Park, Gatlinburg quickly transformed from a quaint hamlet to a vacation destination in it’s own right.
As the town grew, so did The Wood Whittlers.
Eventually, the shop outgrew the cabin and the current location of The Wood Whittlers was built in 1968. Every day since then, Gatlinburg natives have gathered at The Wood Whittlers to create art by hand. Today, the shop is still owned and operated by the Compton family. We have 3rd and 4th generation woodworkers in the shop daily creating pieces by hand that you can’t find anywhere else.
In 2020, the City of Gatlinburg notified The Wood Whittlers that we currently hold the oldest business license in the city.
All of our craftsmen create art the same way Shirl did it in the 1940s – everything from tiny Christmas ornaments to large fireplace mantles are made right here in our shop. You can even watch as carvers work in real-time to create one-of-a-kind art from inside our shop, and if you’re lucky you can even catch one of them for a chat about their work. We have something for everyone, and with proper care, the gifts you purchase can turn into family heirlooms you pass down from generation to generation, just like The Wood Whittlers.