Great Smoky Mountains National Park - TN & NC
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - TN & NC
Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers
thousands of acres in both Tennessee and North
Carolina. It is a World Heritage Site.
Great Smoky Mountains
The Cherokee called these
shaconage, which
translates to "blue, like
Life and Death in Cades Cove
The historic Cades Cove
Missionary Baptist Church
was founded in 1839. Visitors
can explore the sanctuary and
adjoining cemetery.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - TN & NC
Mountains, History & Nature
Copyright 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: May 5, 2013
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Mountain History in the South
Log Cabin in the Mountains
Traces of the early pioneers
who settled in the Great
Smoky Mountains can still be
seen today.
Nature & Wildlife
Visitors to Great Smoky
Mountains National Park
enjoy phenomenal views of
nature, including wildlife such
as deer and bear.
The border where Tennessee and North
Carolina meet is home to some of the most
beautiful scenery in the world, the famed
Great Smoky Mountains.

Designated a World Heritage Site in 1983,
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is
one of America's most loved and most visited
national park areas. It combines stunning
natural scenery with mountain heritage to
create a place unlike any other in the country.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was
the homeland of the Cherokee Indians when
the first European explorers reached the
Appalachian Mountains. The Spanish, the
English and even the French explored the
region, all of them finding the Cherokee
Nation to be a powerful and advanced society.

The Cherokee called the mountains
shaconage, which translates roughly to "blue,
like smoke." Looking across the ridges and
peaks on a clear day, it is easy to see how
the name came about. Distant mountains
appear blue to the eye and, in the words of
the Cherokee, much "like smoke."

The Cherokee fought to preserve their
homeland from encroachment. Wars were
carried out against the Spanish, English and
finally the pioneer settlers of the fledgling
United States. In the end, though, it was an
Act of Congress - the Indian Removal Act -
that forced most of them from their homes in
the 1830s.

The forced removal of the Cherokee people
to new lands in what is now Oklahoma was
accomplished at the points of bayonets and
is remembered today as the Trail of Tears.
Thousands died on the journey and most of
the rest arrived in the West hungry, cold and

A few of the Cherokee managed to avoid the
Trail of Tears and their descendants still live
in the mountain country near Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. They are known
today as the Eastern Band of the Cherokee
Please click here to learn more about

The Cherokee were followed by white and
black settlers who came into the rugged
mountains to carve out lives for themselves.
For most of the 19th century, they lived
agricultural lives on small farms. Crops were
grown and livestock pastured on level plots
of ground. Food stocks were supplemented
by hunting for deer, bear, squirrel and other

The Great Smoky Mountains were not
plantation country before the Civil War and
slavery was all but nonexistent there. It
surprises many that some of the most bitter
animosity of that war grew in this land of
ridges and hollows.

Some of the settlers were pro-Union, but
many others - including many of the
Cherokee Indians still living in the region -
supported the Confederacy. Colonel William
Thomas was given a commission in the C.S.
Army to organize a legion of both white and
Cherokee soldiers from the mountains.

Thomas' Legion fought numerous battles
and skirmishes in the region, twice marching
in force over the mountains. Battles were
fought at today's Gatlinburg, Bryson City and
Waynesville. The fight at Waynesville took
place after the "official" end of the Civil War.
After the end of the Civil War, the people of
the Great Smoky Mountains depended on
themselves and their labor and ingenuity for
what they needed. That changed to a large
degree in around 1900 when timber
companies penetrated the mountains.

The ridges, valleys and hollows were then
covered with magnificent forests of old
growth timber. It was beautiful, but also very
valuable as a commercial commodity.
Lumber towns sprang up in the mountains
and men, oxen and small tram railroads
labored to harvest the timber, saw it and ship
it to market.

By the 1930s, only about 20% of the original
forest remained and that was when the
Federal government stepped in to save what
was left. The Great Smoky Mountains
National Park was established in 1934.

In addition to the mountains and forests, the
park preserved the largest collection of log
buildings in the eastern United States. More
than 70 historic structures stand in the park
today, including log cabins, barns, churches,
mills, houses and more.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park today
is one of America's most popular national
park areas. Visitors come throughout the
year to enjoy viewing wildlife and spectacular
scenery. The park is popular for auto touring,
bicycling, hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing,
waterfall exploring and more.

The park is open 24 hours per day, 365 days
per year, although some areas and roads
close in the winter. Visitor Centers can be
found at Oconaluftee, Klingman's Dome,
Cades Cove and Sugarland. Information
centers are located outside the park in the
cities of Gatlinburg, Sevierville and

Please click here to visit the official NPS
website for a wealth of information on the
Photos by Pearl Cox & Charlotte Cook
Historic Farm
Preserved historic farms, like
this one, help visitors learn
about pioneer life in the Great
Smoky Mountains.