"Gateway to the Smokies"
Gatlinburg is a popular resort town known as the "Gateway to
the Smokies" because it joins the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East
Tennessee. Gatlinburg is known for its resort atmosphere, scenic natural
setting, & its great variety of unique shops & restaurants. Visitors
stroll the inviting streets of this quaint resort town all hours of the day
& night all year long!
Gatlinburg was first settled in the 1790's. Jane Oglesby, a
widow, and her seven children, moved from South Carolina into what was an
unsettled Smoky Mountain wilderness area. The area was first known as White Oak
Flats. Later, new settlers, men who had fought in the Revolutionary War settled
in this area after having been given land grants for their dedication &
service to the New Country.
Community structures were built in the small, but growing
settlement. White Oaks Baptist Church was built in 1835. A school was built and
kept open 2 or 3 months a year. In 1860 a post office was opened in a
mercantile building owned by Radford Gatlin. In appreciation for the office
space the postmaster named the post office Gatlinburg. Later the town once
known as White Oak Flats became known as Gatlinburg.
Radford Gatlin, was thought to be kin of the inventor of the
Gatlin gun. He was said to have a keen intelligence & a businesslike
personality. He was an outspoken advocate of the Confederate cause, unlike some
of the other settlers of the area. Although it is said that he was forced to
leave the area mainly as a result of his differing political beliefs, the town
still bears his name.
Because Gatlinburg was at an entrance to the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park it became a "Gateway to the Smokies". Tourists visiting
the Park became the economic asset that allowed Gatlinburg to boom into a large
& wealthy resort town that hosts visitors from all over the world. It has
managed to keep its small quaint atmosphere in spite of its prosperity, and
continues to serve as a hospitable host to millions of visitors each year!
Gatlinburg is located 1 ¼ hr. from the Nantahala
River Gorge Area. A trip from the Gorge to Gatlinburg includes an attractive
and scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.