We know you love learning about the history of Sevierville, but how much do you know about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Since our town is in the foothills of this magnificent natural wonder, we thought you would like to know more about the history of the national park! Keep reading to learn 4 interesting facts about Smoky Mountain history you should know:
1. The park was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.
As the United States grew, the concern for preserving wildlife, native plants, and unincorporated land also grew. This eventually led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the United States. Most of the national parks were located in the west, and Congress wanted a national park in the east, eventually leading to them chartering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. It wasn’t until 1940 that the park was officially dedicated to the people of the United States, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the person who gave a speech for the dedication.
2. Most roads and trails were created by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Maybe you’ve always wondered at what point in Smoky Mountain history were the roads and trails made. That’s where the Civilian Conservation Corps comes in! This government program was started by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to help lift the country out of The Great Depression. The program started in 1933 and ran until 1942 when these young men were called away to fight in World War II. During this time, they built roads, trails, fire towers, and various structures to improve the areas.
3. A woman was the first to settle in the Smokies.
One of the most interesting and lesser known facts about Smoky Mountain history is that the first settler was actually a woman named Martha Jane Huskey Ogle. Her husband, William Ogle, is typically credited as the first settler, and this may be because he and his sons came over from North Carolina to build their homestead. By the time the home was ready for the family, William fell ill and passed away. Martha took their children and settled into the home her husband had built as the first settlers in the area.
4. Tennessee is the reason there’s no entrance fee to the park.
If you’ve ever visited any of the other national parks in the United States, you probably know they charge entrance fees. So why doesn’t the Great Smoky Mountains National Park charge a fee? Well, you can thank the state of Tennessee for free admission! Tennessee and North Carolina worked on Newfound Gap Road (US 411) that still connects the states long before the national park was chartered. The federal government came to the states and asked if they would transfer ownership of the road over for the park. North Carolina did, and Tennessee only agreed to do so if they promised no tolls or fees would ever be charged to use the road, which eventually led to there not being an entrance fee to the park!
Now you know some of the interesting facts about Smoky Mountain history! Does learning more about the area make you want to visit? Start planning your next trip to the Smokies by staying with us in our Sevierville hotel!