The Smokie Mountains
America’s favorite state park

The Smokie Mountains America’s favorite state park

Posted 28th January 2021

The Smokie Mountains

When I first came to the United States it wasn’t long before I got to visit America’s favourite state park, The Smokie Mountains, and just like most people who visit there, I was immediately immersed in its beauty and tranquillity.
I have been back many times since, and it always immediately gives you a sense of peace and tranquillity.

Today Gatlinburg attracts over 9 million tourists a year, but what were the steps that turned it into such a favourite place of interest as it is today?

Back before the 1800s, it was the Cherokee Indians who lived and hunted there along with some Europeans brave enough to trap for the lucrative fur trade.
Unlike today with all the comforts when visiting this incredible park, one woman by the name of Martha Jane Ogle took on the frightening and lonely endeavour of settling in this land in eastern Tennessee. This settlement would eventually become the town known as Gatlinburg as other settlers followed in the eighteenth century.

Originally named white oak flats for the abundance of stately trees that grew in the area, many Veterans of the 1812 war were given deeds of 50-acre tracts for their war services and so they too added to the population.
Remains of the dwellings are still there today depicting how tough one had to be to survive back then.

As things settled down after the civil war, the locals brought education to Gatlinburg in the form of subscription schools where the parents were responsible for purchasing their child’s education.
Of course, with all these beautiful mature trees, the logging industry started in earnest around the 1880s to 1900s.

For us bloggers, it is interesting to note that both the writings of Mary Noailles Murfree and Horace Kephart brought the first tourists to Gatlinburg around the early 1900s.
Mary, from Murfreesboro, brought fame to the Smoky Mountains with her book, ‘In the Tennessee Mountains (1884)’ Eight stories on the life and character of the Tennessee Mountaineer.

In 1906, ‘Field and Stream and Camping and Woodcraft in 1906’ first published Horace Kephart’s writings about his experience living in the wilderness.
With the increased logging in the United States, Congress passed The Weeks Act in 1911 for the purchase of land for national forests, so Horace and area businesses began advocating for the creation of a national park in the Smokies.
Creating a national park was hard to do as farmers, timber and paper companies owned parcels of the land.
Fortunately, between backpackers, trout fishers, motorists, and other support groups a bill was signed by President Calvin Coolidge that provided for the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

By 1928 5 million had been raised, but by then land prices had doubled, and the shortfall of 5 million was donated by the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund which allowed for the purchase of the remaining land.

      President Franklin Roosevelt officially delegated
      the park in September 1940 at a grand ceremony at
      Rockefeller monument at Newfound Gap.

President Roosevelt’s vision to maintain the beauty of his country along with providing work for its people played a vital role in the early development of facilities and restoration of first settler’s buildings and the 800 miles of hiking trails in the Smokies between 1933 and 1942.
But unfortunately world war two broke out the program shut down, but many workers decided to stay in these mountains of natural beauty.

In 1937 the community founded and arts and crafts centre. Located in an 8-mile loop road, tourists can watch the creation of art from beginning to end by craftspeople themselves. This centre is designated a Tennessee heritage arts and crafts trail. The schools focused on arts and crafts which thrived in Gatlinburg’s tourist boom.
The first year the park opened it had an estimated 40,000 visitors.
Today, more than 9 million visitors visit the park – than twice the annual attendance of any other parks in the USA.

The name ‘The Smokies’ arises from the peculiar effect of the vegetation in the mountains trapping and releasing moisture that creates the smoky effect.

So back over 200 years ago at a time when exploring the wilderness was a lonely and frightening experience one woman, Martha Ogle took her family to this land in eastern Tennessee that her deceased husband had wished for her to go. Little did she know that it would be a place not only her husband had fallen in love with, but millions of other people too.

The difference now is that with all the modern conveniences in transport and accommodation it is worth the thought when you are in these mountains alone or with the family to reflect on such a time way back when we couldn’t take things for granted.

Today’s Pioneers are a little different from where we are now visiting other planets because of the advances in technology.
We are also advancing in other technologies which will change how we live and coexist on this planet.
With Compumatrix, one brave, forward-thinking scholar by the name of Henry b has taken it upon himself to forge a path in the area of cryptocurrencies which is bringing us into a new age and a new way of doing business.

As we look back 200 years ago when a brave Martha Ogle forged a tourist attraction for millions of people, I see Compumatrix forging a path in opening its doors to millions of people too.

Will we look back in years to come and reflect on how hard it was for Henry to start something that was also new territory and equally as challenging. Yes, years from now, many will take for granted this business which has taken blood sweat and tears by this pioneer.

Let us remember that even though others are going to follow him, it takes someone brave enough to take the first step into the wilderness that is going to pave the way for the world to follow.

There are a lot of new developments happening in the Smokies today and one person who never forgot her Smokie mountain roots, Dolly Parton has followed in the tradition of giving back to this unique place.

Suppose you look at the timeline of Dolly’s philanthropy. In that case, I believe as we follow in Henry’s pioneering developments with Compumatrix, there will be those of us with varying ideas of how we also give back to the world.

You can spend so much money on material things, but the gratification for most of us old-timers will be the giving back to the world part.

1 Comment

  1. Johnny

    Very informative article Patrick. Love that place!


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