Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – As we come to the end of the year, take a look back in time at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bringing a national park to the Smoky Mountains was no short process. The idea began in the late 1890s according to the National Park Service.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park through the years
In May 1926, a bill was signed by President Calvin Coolidge that provided for the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park. By 1928, enough money had been raised to purchase the park land. However, the purchase of the land was difficult.
The creation of the park forced hundreds of families to leave their homes. According to the National Park Service, some left of their own accord and others fought against it, but most families moved immediately.
Those who were too old or too ill to move were given lifetime leases. This includes the Walker sisters, who lived in the park until their deaths in the 1960s. Others were granted short-term leases. However, they could not chop wood, hunt and trap at will as they had before.
The park was officially opened in September 1940. President Franklin Roosevelt spoke from the Rockefeller Memorial at Newfound Gap, straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
To learn more about the history of the park, click here.
Suggest a fix