Woohoo — we’re pumped to celebrate 75 years of Gatlinburg! This popular Tennessee town has grown so much over the decades, from a few cabins, shops, and a lone road to a bustling city filled with Appalachian history. And with the help of millions of visitors each year, Gatlinburg has become America’s mountain home. Whether you’ve been here many times or never before, we welcome you to check out why our beloved Smoky Mountain town keeps climbing to popular heights. Come visit, explore, play, dine, shop, and reconnect in Gatlinburg.
A Stroll Through Gatlinburg’s History
Early 1800s | Land of Paradise
To understand the significance of 75 years beckons a little tale of Gatlinburg history. It all began in the early 1800s when William Ogle ventured to this area, he then dubbed a “land of paradise.” After building a cabin with the help of Cherokee, he sadly died before returning with his family. However, his wife Martha was determined and made the journey with their children.
1856 | It’s All in the Name
Yeah, the Ogle’s pretty much started it all, attracting more and more settlers to the area. In fact, Gatlinburg came from the name of one such settler, Radford C. Gatlin…who was eventually banished (but that’s a story for another time). He lent some office space to Richard Reagan (postmaster) who called it Gatlinburg, and eventually, the entire town was muttering the name that stuck in 1856.
1940 | The National Park
Unfortunately, during the Civil War, the Union burned much to the ground while pushing the Confederates out of town. Once things began to settle down after the war was over in 1865, Gatlinburg realized the need to rebuild. And with the timber industry picking up in the early 1920s, the need to preserve the beauty of the land was realized, eventually establishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940 (we even have our own Gatlinburg entrance today!).
1945 – 2020 | 75 Years Strong
As visitors flocked to see the stunning mountain vistas, Gatlinburg began to take root in many hearts as the mountain home we know and love. From 1945 – 2020, lodging, attractions, stores, and restaurants have continued to thrive. And now it’s your turn to join in on all the fun and become part of living history in Gatlinburg!
Classic Gatlinburg | Things to Do
Attractions Unique to Gatlinburg
Skiing exists in Tennessee? Take the Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park to play on the slopes of the only ski resort in the state since the 1960s. Love sky high views? Check out the 360 views at the tippy top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle built in the early 1970s or visit the longest running attraction in Gatlinburg — SkyLift Park — now featuring the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America!
Traditional Gatlinburg Shops
Established in 1937, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community (also a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail) is the largest group of independent artisans in the nation. Nestled along an 11-mile loop road, it’s a great route to shop for handmade Appalachian creations, like quilts, carvings, ornaments, soaps, jewelry, metalwork, pottery, and much more. And if you’re looking for a quaint European style setting, visit The Village Shops (built in the 1970s) that features 27 boutiques with everything from popcorn, honey, and peppers to home décor, clothes, and toys.
Eats & Sips in Gatlinburg
Infused with generations of service, including frontiersman David C. Crockett Maple, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a must-eat in Gatlinburg. Enjoy mouthwatering griddle cakes, Hunt Camp potatoes, stone ground grits, and fried cinnamon rolls with a big smile. For dinner, stop by the renovated former home of Charles “Earl” Ogle — aka The Peddler Steakhouse — for a grilled-over-TN-hickory-charcoal steak dinner with riverside seating. And don’t forget to pay a visit to the most visited distillery in the nation to sample Ole Smoky Moonshine!
What’s NEW in Gatlinburg?
When you’ve been around for 75 years and counting, it’s only natural to attract…well, more attractions. And we’ve got quite a few newbies to our beloved mountain town that visitors can’t stop talking about!
- Check out Anakeesta — our very own aerial adventure park — that boasts duel ziplining, a tree canopy walk, a treehouse playground, and a mountaintop village with shops and eateries.
- New with a classic feel, Ole Red brings night life excitement to our mountain home with live music on stage, made-from-scratch munchies, and awesome cocktails.
- Home to the new and — world’s first — mountain glider (free falling + hang gliding), Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park will keep your adrenaline pumping for sure!
Experience Cabin Life in Gatlinburg
Since the very first cabin by William Ogle, cabins have always been part of Gatlinburg life and continue to attract guests today. Experience the Great Smoky Mountains like a local in a Gatlinburg cabin with Cabins for YOU — in the business of memory making since 2001. From cozy 1-bedroom retreats tucked away in mountain peaks to family size 3-6 bedroom homes with game tables to larger than life 10-16 bedroom lodges with a private pool and decks for days, we have it all plus everything in between in Gatlinburg and neighboring Pigeon Forge. And with ace amenities, like hot tubs, theaters, king beds, fireplaces, and stunning views, we intend to bring in new and repeat guests for top-notch experiences in the Gatlinburg area for another 75 years!
Celebrate 75 years of Gatlinburg and become part of history in the making when you book your Gatlinburg cabin and enjoy in-town fun with loved ones in 2020!