KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In the latest edition of Smoky Mountain Minute, one volunteer with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has devoted more than a decade of research to document stories about the families that lived in the park before it was created. Frank March joined WATE 6 On Your Side to share some of what he’s discovered about the early settlers of the park.
March said at one point there were more than 2,400 homesites across what would become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
He also said there is a park map from 1931 that he uses as the baseline for his research. March shared a portion of the map with viewers on WATE 6 On Your Side at Midday. He also noted the park has a number of hand-drawn maps.
March also wanted to emphasize that he and other researchers carefully record what is at each site, including artifacts. This information is then stored in the park archives which are kept at the Collections Preservation Center in Townsend. He said they work to make sure the records are protected and included in the broader history of the park, so the stories of the people who lived there will not be forgotten.
Lastly, there is an upcoming event for people who may have ties to the early days of the national park, giving them an opportunity to share that information.
The event is on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the King Family Library in Sevierville from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Experts will collect maps, photos and family history information. Anyone with information about their family who lived in what is now the park can bring this information and have it recorded.