Great Smoky Mountains National Park volunteers and staff are seeking help to identify and document former homesites in the park. The public is invited to the King Family Library in Sevierville, Tenn. on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn more about the project and to add copies of their historical records to the park’s collection.
“We are reaching out to the local community to see if anyone has old photos and information that may help with the project,” said Volunteer-In-Park Frank March, who is leading research efforts with park archeologist Allison Harvey. “We encourage the public to bring historic photos, hand-drawn maps, or other documents that will help us identify former homesite locations.”
March estimates that there are more than 2,400 former homesites in the park. Seventy percent of these homesites have been identified. Records associated with the purchase of about 1,200 farms between 1920 and 1940 for the creation of the park are saved in the park’s Collection Preservation Center. However, the history of European habitation in the park dates to the 1790s and many pre-20th century homesites are not documented.
The King Family Library is located at 408 High Street in Sevierville. Data collection will take place at the History Center on the third floor of the library. Park archivist Michael Aday will scan the materials and give digital copies and original documents back to the owner. For more information, please contact Michael Aday (865) 448-2247 or Michael_aday@partner.nps.gov.
- National Park Service release