This Great Smoky Mountains area has quite an extensive cultural history worth the time to study. For example, the Cherokee Indians used to reside here, and then the Scotch-Irish people had settled here. Many of the historical structures from these times still remain standing.
For a long time this area was most noted for its natural resource of timber. In the present day, however, recovery of the timber forests in the Great Smoky Mountains area remains a priority. That is part of the reason for the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established by Congress on June 15, 1934, and then later turned the responsibility of this park over to the National Park Service. On September 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an official dedication of this Great Smoky Mountains Park.
Back a few years, a lady named Mrs. Willis P. Davis had visited the American West, and grew to love national parks, such as the Great Smoky Mountains Park. Her ideas began the Park Movement. One of the efforts of this movement was to preserve national land.
Long before the Park Movement started, and even before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had been founded, this Great Smoky Mountains area had been through quite a few changes of hands. As mentioned earlier in this article, the Cherokees first resided in this area. Later on, Europeans began to settle in this area.
Europeans first settled in Cades Cove, which was a part of what is today’s Great Smoky Mountains Park. They first began to move to this area in the year 1818. Then, throughout the years they had fought with the local Cherokees. After some time the Cherokees surrendered to the Europeans, but not after a considerable amount of bloodshed, especially during a fierce battle commonly known as the “Trail of Tears”. This was during the time of Andrew Jackson’s Presidency.
In 1838 the Cherokees were escorted west, but some of them refused to move and hid in the Great Smoky Mountains wilderness. In the 1870s, these hidden Cherokees, which were called renegade Cherokees to claim some of the lands in western North Carolina. This is called the Qualla Boundary, and today the Cherokees are called the Eastern Band.
Part of the reason of the removal of the Native Americans from the Cades Cove and Surrounding areas was because of the search for gold. This was a precious commodity which was sought in the Great Smoky Mountains area.
After the Civil War the culture of Cades Cove had changed dramatically. The people of Cades Cove no longer trusted visitors, nor welcomed them. By the year 1900, most of the residents of Cades Cove had intermarried, and since not many outsiders entered this location, most of the residents of this area were relation.
In more recent years logging had boosted the economy of the Great Smoky Mountains area. However, along with an improved economy came its set of problems. That is the reason why a national park was created in this area, to help conserve and preserve the land.