Little Arrow


10 Amazing Historical Facts About the Smokies


10 Amazing Historical Facts About the Smokies


Every day at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort we pinch ourselves. We can’t believe how lucky we are to be located in the beautiful city of Townsend, Tennessee, literally steps away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The beauty of our Smokies lies in its lush vegetation, active wildlife, and distinctive four seasons, but its mind-blowing history is just as awe-inspiring. Follow the story of the Smokies found in these ten amazing facts!


  1. The Smoky Mountains are among the oldest in the entire world–they began to form between 200 and 300 million years ago!
  2. Cherokee Indians, made up of seven clans that each possessed distinctive skills, populated the Great Smoky Mountains for over 1,000 years. 
  3. Starting in the late 1700s, European-American settlers arrived in the Great Smoky Mountains. Today, over 90 of their original pioneer structures are preserved throughout the National Park. 
  4. The Little River Lumber Company, founded by Colonel Wilson Bailey (W.B.) Townsend, was one of many logging businesses that sprang up in the Smokies in the early 1900s. W. B. purchased the nearby community of Tuckaleechee Cove, which he then re-named “Townsend”, Tennessee.    
  5. By the 1920s, a movement had begun to preserve the 20% of the land that remained untouched by residents and the logging industry. In 1924 the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association was formed, and is still in existence today. 
  6. Between 1910 and 1940, photographer and East Tennessee native James “Jim” Thompson captured thousands of beautiful images of the Great Smoky Mountains, many of which contributed toward the movement to create a protected space. 
  7. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1926. The states of North Carolina and Tennessee each authorized $2 million to purchase the land, and another $1 million was raised by residents of both states—an amazing amount for that time. 
  8. Many of the trails, stone bridges, campgrounds, and buildings found in the Park were built by the then newly-established Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an agency created by President Theodore Roosevelt to provide work for unemployed young men during the Depression. 
  9. President Roosevelt dedicated The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 2, 1940. 
  10. J. Ross Eakin was hired in 1931 as the first superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Eighty-three years later, Memphis-born Cassius Cash was installed as the 16th superintendent of the Park. He is the first African American to hold the special role. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this timeline of facts about the special mountain range that Little Arrow calls home! If you haven’t yet witnessed the grandeur of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, come camping, glamping, or RV-ing at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort to experience it firsthand. And if you already know the magic of the most visited national park in the country, what are you waiting for?


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