The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is obviously the biggest thing that ever happened to this county.
Before the national park was there, most of the Smokies on the Tennessee side were owned by the Little River Lumber Co. Knoxville civic leaders spearheaded a movement to turn the Smokies into a national park. But the way things worked at that time, the state had to buy the land first before the federal government would make it a park.
In April 1925 the Tennessee General Assembly voted to purchase the Smoky Mountains from the lumber company. Despite the low cost of the land – $3.24 an acre – the measure was debated at some length and passed the state senate by a vote of 20-12.
For more on the history of the park, click here.
A few other tidbits about Sevier County:
* A lot more people visit it than live in it. Gatlinburg, for instance, contains 3,400 full-time residents but has 10,500 hotel rooms — a ratio unique in Tennessee.
* It contains many of the state’s top attractions, such as the Dollywood theme park.
* It contains the highest point in Tennessee — that being Clingman’s Dome (6,643 feet)
Sevier County is one of seven east Tennessee counties that contains parts of the Appalachian Trail, which runs 2,175 miles through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. There are people who have hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail; it takes about four to six months.
In fact, the Sevier County portions of the Appalachian Trail contain the most heavily traveled parts of the entire trail, including such landmarks as Mount Kephart, Charlie’s Bunyon, Clingmans Dome and Silers Bald.
Here’s the Sevier County Courthouse in Sevierville, which is flanked by a statue of Dolly Parton!