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"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.


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12121 Hwy 19 West, Bryson City, NC 28713
1-800-GOT-RAFT 1-828-488-6345
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