Sunday, September 21, 2008

Seventy-four Years Ago

Beginning with the preservation promotion by librarian Horace Kephart in 1904 to the organization formed by Knoxville citizens in the 1920s to the countless citizens who contributed millions of dollars, the Great Smoky National Park owes its establishment to the people. The states of Tennessee and North Carolina, the federal government (a “reluctant” donor of two million dollars), and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (who donated five million dollars) contributed significantly to the funds needed to purchase the land from lumber companies and residents. The National Park Service wanted to establish a park in the East, but buying land was a new experience for this agency in that the parks it had established in the West were on federal land that it already owned. On June 15, 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established.

The photos in this entry show scenes and buildings in the Park.
The Dan Lawson Place, built in 1856.

The Lawson's brick chimney, unusual for its time, was built from of bricks made on the site.

From the time the first settlers moved into what would become known as Cades Cove in 1821, the population grew to 635 (132 families) in 1850. Ten years later, the population had dropped to just 275. It is not know whether this was due to people following the lure of the West, the attacks on people because of their support for the Union in the Civil War, or the difficulty of subsistence farming. By 1900, the population had risen to 708.

The Tipton Place, built in the 1870s.

A replica of the Tipton's cantilever barn.

The fireplace in the Tipton home.

When the National Park Service began buying land in the 1930s, many sold their farms and left the Cove. One of the strongest resisters was John Oliver (referred to in the earlier entry “Entering Cades Cove”). Following six years of court battles, including three appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court, he left the Cove “on a bleak December day in 1937” (Cades Cove Tour brochure, NPS).

The Carter Shields cabin, purchased in 1910.

The colorful mantel in the Carter Shields cabin.

For those who stayed, they accepted a little less money for their land, but they were allowed to live there until they died. Their descendents had no claim to the land.

A schedule of events throughout 2009 will provide visitors with the opportunity to observe the Park’s 75th birthday.

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