See Rock City

See Rock City

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sevierville, TN

Birth name Dolly Rebecca Parton
Born January 19, 1946 (1946-01-19) (age 62)
Origin Sevierville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genre(s) Country, country pop, Bluegrass
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, actress, author, philanthropist
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, banjo, autoharp, piano
Years active 1964 – present


Dolly Parton was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of twelve children born to Robert Lee Parton and Avie Lee Owens. Her siblings are Willadeene Parton (a poet), David Parton, Denver Parton, Bobby Parton, Stella Parton (a singer), Cassie Parton, Larry Parton (who died shortly after birth), Randy Parton (a singer and businessman), twins Floyd Parton (a songwriter) and Freida Parton (a singer), and Rachel Dennison (an actress).

Her family was, as she described them, "dirt poor." They lived in a rustic, dilapidated one-room cabin in Locust Ridge, a hamlet just north of Greenbrier in the Great Smoky Mountains of Sevier County, Tennessee. Parton's parents were parishioners in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), a Pentecostal denomination, and music was a very large part of her church experience. She once told an interviewer that her grandfather was a Pentecostal "holy roller" preacher. Today, when appearing in live concerts, she frequently performs spiritual songs. (Parton, however, professes no denomination, claiming only to be "spiritual" while adding that she believes that all the Earth's people are God's children.)

On May 30, 1966, at the age of 20, she married Carl Dean in Ringgold, Georgia. She met Dean on her first day in Nashville, at age 18, at the Wishy-Washy Laundromat. His very first words to her were: "You're gonna get sunburnt out there, little lady." Dean, who runs an asphalt-paving business in Nashville, has always shunned publicity and rarely accompanies her to any events. The couple has raised several of Dolly's younger siblings at their home in Nashville, leading her nieces and nephews to refer to her as "Aunt Granny." Dean and Parton have no children together.

Dolly is the godmother of singer and actress Miley Cyrus.

Career discovery

Parton began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in East Tennessee. By age 9, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee, and at 13, she was recording on a small record label, Goldband, and appearing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. It was that night at the Opry that she first met Johnny Cash, who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964 she moved to Nashville, taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her.

Parton's initial success came as a songwriter, writing hit songs for Hank Williams, Jr. and Skeeter Davis. She signed with Monument Records in late 1965, where she was initially pitched as a bubblegum pop singer, earning only one national chart single, "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby," which did not crack the Billboard Hot 100.

The label agreed to have Parton sing country music after her composition, "Put It Off Until Tomorrow," as recorded by Bill Phillips (and with Parton, uncredited, on harmony), went to No. 6 on the Country Charts in 1966. Her first country single, "Dumb Blonde" (one of the few songs during this era that she recorded but didn't write), reached No. 24 on the country charts in 1967, followed the same year with "Something Fishy," which went to Number 17. The two songs anchored her first full-length album, "Hello, I'm Dolly"

Trailhead to Arch Rock, Alum Cave Bluff Trail Overlook

Rocky Portion of Alum Cave Bluff Trail

The Boulevard Trail is an American hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Sevier County, Tennessee. The trail ascends Mount Le Conte, the tallest (and sixth highest) mountain east of the Mississippi River and offers outstanding high-elevation views before terminating near the LeConte Lodge.

The Alum Cave Trail provides many scenic overlooks The Alum Cave Trail begins its ascent at 3,830 feet (1,170 m) by quickly crossing two streams: Walker Camp Prong and Alum Cave Creek, the latter of which flanks the trail for the first 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of its length. This first leg of the trail leads the hiker through an old-growth forest, comprised largely of hemlock and yellow birch and is relatively easy, as the climb is gradual and the footpath is well-maintained due to its heavy traffic. The first notable landmark comes 1.3 miles (2.1 km) into the hike at what is known as "Arch Rock", which is a large black slate rock that has, over millennia, come to create, as the name indicates, a large natural arch. Hikers maneuver easily through the cold, moist rock via stairs and steel cables which are placed at numerous points along the footpath.

The starting point on the hike to Mount Le Conte is here at the Appalachian Trail, which leads into The Boulevard Trail shortly into the hike.

Chimney Tops is a mountain in the central Great Smoky Mountains, located in the Southeastern United States. It has an elevation of 4,800 feet (1463 m). It is one of the park's most recognizable geological structures and a popular hiking destination.

Chimney Tops is a double-capstone knob on the eastern slope of the Sugarland Mountain massif. This massif stretches north-to-south across the north-central section of the Smokies. Mount Le Conte dominates the area immediately east of Chimney Tops, and Mt. Mingus rises to the north. Thus, while the view from the summit is 360 degrees, Chimney Tops is practically "walled in" on three sides.

Chimney Tops, looking south from Newfound Gap Road (US-441).

Clingmans Dome (or Clingman's Dome) is a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, in the southeastern United States. At an elevation of 6,643 feet (2,025 m), it is the highest mountain in the Great Smokies, the highest point in the state of Tennessee, and the highest point along the 2,174-mile (3,499 km) Appalachian Trail. It is the third-highest mountain in the Appalachian range.

Clingmans Dome is currently protected as part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A paved road, closed in winter (November through March), connects it to U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) near Newfound Gap. A concrete observation tower was built on the site in 1959, offering a panoramic view of the mountains in each direction and helping to promote the site as a major tourist destination. The area is developed with picnic tables and running-water restrooms. The Environmental Protection Agency operates an air quality monitoring station on the summit, the second highest in eastern North America. The summit of Clingmans Dome is coated by a Spruce-fir (or "boreal") forest, a forest type common in northern latitudes, but found only in the highest elevations in the southeastern United States. Like most peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains, Clingmans Dome climbs prominently above the surrounding terrain, rising nearly 5,000 feet (1,525 meters) from base to summit.

Clingmans Dome, with Spruce-fir forest

Trailhead to Rainbow Falls

At nearly 80 feet, Rainbow Falls is the longest plunge of water in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The trail asserts itself from the beginning, immediately ascending Le Conte's flank, alongside the mountain's primary drainage avenue, LeConte Creek, which, due to the abnormally large number of mills that sprouted up along this stream at one time (twelve, at its peak), was once known as "Mill Creek." The roaring sounds of the creek accompany the footpath for most of the first 2.6 miles, only dying down at about the 1.5-mile mark, where the trail temporarily jaunts away from the stream. The path soon swings back, crossing over LeConte Creek twice via narrow footbridges over the final mile to Rainbow Falls. When the hiker reaches Rainbow Falls, s/he has hiked 2.6 miles and is in the presence of the highest single-drop waterfall in the national park. On the somewhat rare occasion of a sunny afternoon at the falls, a lucky onlooker can see a rainbow reflected in the sprayed mist of the waterfall, hence the Rainbow Falls moniker.

At nearly 80 feet, Rainbow Falls is the longest plunge of water in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

John Sevier (23 September 1745 – 25 September 1815) served four years (1785–1789) as the only governor of the State of Franklin and twelve years (1796–1801 and 1803–1809) as Governor of Tennessee, and as a U.S. Representative from Tennessee from 1811 until his death. He also served as the commander of the Washington County, Tennessee, contingent of the Overmountain Men in the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Sevierville is a city in Sevier County, Tennessee, located in the Southeastern United States. Its population was 11,757 at the 2000 United States Census; in 2004 the estimated population was 14,101. Sevierville is the county seat of Sevier County, Tennessee.


THC sign marking the site of the McMahan Indian Mound, 1200-1500 A.D.Native Americans of the Woodland period were among the first human inhabitants of what is now Sevierville, arriving sometime around 200 A.D. and living in villages scattered around the Forks-of-the-River area.

Between 1200 and 1500 A.D., during the Dallas Phase of the Mississippian period, a group of Native Americans established a relatively large village centered around a temple mound just above the confluence of the West Fork and the Little Pigeon River. This mound was approximately 16 feet (4.9 m) high and 240 feet (73 m) across and was surrounded by a palisade. An excavation in 1881 unearthed burials, arrow-points, a marble pipe, glass beads, pottery, and engraved objects. At the time of this first excavation, the mound was located on a farm owned by the McMahan family, and was thus given the name McMahan Indian Mound.

By the early 1700's, the Cherokee controlled much of the Tennessee side of the Smokies, establishing a series of settlements along the Little Tennessee River. A section of the Great Indian Warpath forked at the mouth of Boyd's Creek, just north of Sevierville. The main branch crossed the French Broad and continued along Dumplin Creek to the Nolichucky basin in northeastern Tennessee. The other branch, known as the Tuckaleechee and Southeastern Trail, turned south along the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River. This second branch forked again at modern-day Pigeon Forge, with the main trail turning east en route to Little River and the other branch, known as the Indian Gap Trail, crossing the crest of the Smokies to the south and descending into the Oconaluftee area of North Carolina. The various Cherokee trails criss-crossing Sevier Co. brought the first Euro-American traders and settlers to the area.

French Broad River

Early Euro-American settlement

Plaque honoring Sevierville pioneer Spencer Clack at the Sevier County Courthouse European long hunters and traders arrived in the Sevierville area in the mid-1700's. Isaac Thomas (1735?-1818), the most notable of these early traders, was well-respected by the Cherokee, and may have lived at the Overhill town of Chota at one time. Europeans like Thomas were mainly in search of animal furs, for which they exchanged manufactured goods.

As settlers began to trickle into East Tennessee, relations with the Cherokee began to turn hostile. During the Revolutionary War, the Cherokee, who had aligned themselves with the British, launched sporadic attacks against the sparse settlements in the Tennessee Valley. In December of 1780, Col. John Sevier, fresh off a victory over the British at King's Mountain, launched a punitive expedition against the Cherokee. Sevier routed the Cherokee at the Battle of Boyd's Creek and proceeded to destroy several Cherokee settlements along the Little Tennessee.

A temporary truce secured by James White in 1783 led to an influx of Euro-American settlers in the French Broad valley. Hugh Henry (1756-1838) erected a small fort near the mouth of Dumplin Creek in 1782 known as Henry's Station. He was joined the following year by Samuel Newell (1754-1841), who established Newell's Station along Boyd's Creek, and Joshua Gist, who settled near the creek's mouth. Other early forts in the area included Willson's Station at the confluence of the East and Middle Fork of the Little Pigeon and Wear's Fort at the junction of the Southeastern and Tuckaleechee Trail and Indian Gap Trail. The Cherokee signed away all rights to what is now Sevier County in the 1785 Treaty of Dumplin, which was negotiated at Henry's Station.

Fork of Little Pigeon and West Fork

In 1783, Isaac Thomas established a farm, trading post, and tavern at the confluence of the West Fork and the Little Pigeon River. He was joined shortly thereafter by Spencer Clack (1740-1832) and James McMahan, and a community known as Forks of the Little Pigeon developed around them. In 1789, Reverend Richard Wood (1756-1831) established Forks-of-the-River Baptist Church, which reported a congregation of 22 in 1790. By 1795, the congregation had 94 members.

Lewis Buckner Design
Antebellum Sevierville

The French Broad River at the Brabson's Ferry Plantation site near Boyd's CreekSevier County was created in 1794 and named after John Sevier. At a meeting at Thomas's house the following year, the Forks-of-the-Little-Pigeon area was chosen as the county seat, and renamed "Sevierville." James McMahan donated a 25 acre tract upon which to erect a townsquare. This tract was parceled out into half-acre lots upon which the purchaser was required to build a brick, framed, or stone structure.

Brabson Ferry Cabin

The first Sevier County Courthouse was built in 1796. Before its construction, according to local legend, court was held in a flee-infested abandoned stable. Irritated lawyers were said to have paid an unknown person "a bottle of whiskey" to burn down the stable, forcing the new county to build an actual courthouse.

As the county grew, several large farms were established in the fertile Boyd's Creek area. In 1792, Andrew Evans purchased a tract of land near the mouth of Boyd's Creek and built a ferry near the site of the old ford. In 1798, Evans sold the farm to John Brabson, and it was henceforth known as the Brabson Ferry Plantation. In the early 1790's, Thomas Buckingham established a large farm between Boyd's Creek and Sevierville. Buckingham went on to become the county's first sheriff. In the early 1800s, John Chandler (1786-1875) established the plantation along Boyd's Creek now known as "Wheatlands."

As towns situated along the French Broad are connected via waterway to New Orleans, a flatboat trade flourished along the river in the early 1800's. In 1793, James Hubbert, who lived along Dumplin Creek, established Hubbert's Flat Landing to trade with flatboats moving up and down the river.

In the early 1800's, Knoxville and Asheville were connected via Route 17, a crude road which followed the banks of the French Broad. This new road gave Tennessee's cattle drovers greater access to markets along the east coast. In 1820, a stagecoach road connected Sevierville with Maryville to the west. Sevierville's situation as a county seat along these early roads helped it to grow. By 1833, the town had a population of 150, including two doctors, two carpenters, a tanner, two tailors, a shoemaker, three stores, a hatter, two taverns, and two mills. Distilleries were popular means of supplemental income. By 1850, John Chandler's distillery was producing 6,000 gallons of whiskey per year.

A notable late arrival in Sevierville was Dr. Robert Hodsden (1806-1864), who had accompanied the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. In 1844, Hodsden began construction on a plantation near Fair Garden, just outside of Sevierville to the east. This plantation, now known as Rose Glen, was worth $28,000 in 1860, one of the most valuable in the county.

Sevier County Court House

In 1856, a fire swept through Sevierville, burning a recently-constructed new courthouse, 41 houses, and several shops in the downtown area. Perhaps more importantly, the county lost nearly all of the vital records of its early settlers.