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» » The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN) (Images of America)
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN) (Images of America)


Steve Cotham


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN) (Images of America)



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Arcadia Publishing (December 6, 2006)







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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN) (Images of America) by Steve Cotham

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park draws more visitors than any other park in the nation. The park has some of the highest, oldest, and most picturesque mountain peaks and ridges in the eastern United States and more than 800 miles of hiking trails. These mountains, rivers, and scenic gorges constitute a formidable barrier between Tennessee and North Carolina. The struggle to acquire the land for the park from 10 large lumber companies and hundreds of small landholders started in 1923 and lasted more than 15 years. More than half of the 500,000 acres acquired for the park had been logged before the park's dedication in 1940, but thousands of acres of oldgrowth forest still survive. One of the most biologically diverse regions in North America-with thousands of species of plant and animal life, including 125 species of native trees-the park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1976 and a World Heritage Site in 1983.
I just love this book. It is full of history of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It includes loads of photos with descriptions. I found it to be a fascinating pictorial of the area from late 1800's to 1960's. I have a rental cabin in the Sevierville area that I bought this book for, and I think our guests will really enjoy it.
I think the gift recipient will enjoy this book, but it is a fairly thin paperback for the price- only 124 pages. I probably wouldn’t buy it for a gift again.
The book contains an excellent blend of photographs you would hope to see in a book about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and many photographs that have not been published before. The author's background in history and love of his subject are evident in the photograph selection and the concise and informative text and captions. Highly recommended for your personal collection or for gift-giving.
A small, but informative book. It made my visit to the Great Smoky Mountains NP more enjoyable.
great book
Read the book and it had plenty of great old pictures. That is the reason I buy the images of America books.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park, covering 500,000 acres in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, is the most frequently visited of America's "crown jewels" in the National Park system. The Park is a place of extraordinary beauty, with its craggy mountains and its rivers and waterfalls, together with great diversity of plant and animal life, including its famed black bears. The Great Smoky Mountains are also a rich source as well of varied human activity. Over the years the Cherokee Indians, mountain people, loggers, and tourists have left their mark on the mountains.

Steve Cotham's book "The Great Smoky Mountains National Park" (2006) offers a photographic history the people and places of the mountains beginning from the late 1800's, continuing through the official establishment of the park in 1934, and concluding in the early 1950s. Cotham is the manager of the McClung Historical Collection of the East Tennessee History Center, and his book makes broad use of many rare photographs from its archives. The book is part of the"Images of America" series of Arcadia Press, which presents much local history of the United States in appealing volumes of 128 pages of annotated photographs. I have learned a great deal from this series about American places and people, both familiar and unfamiliar to me. The Great Smoky Mountains are somewhere between familiar and unfamiliar. I have visited them several times, but briefly.

In ten chapters of annotated photos, Cotham's book gives a good sense of the scenery and people of the Great Smoky Mountains. The book opens with a short overview of farming and settlement in the region from about 1880-1900. It is followed by a chapter on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their Reservation which lies on the eastern boundary of the park in North Carolina. Most of these photos date from the 1930s, but they brought back memories of my visit to the Reservation some years ago.

From the early years of the 20th Century to the early 1930s, the Great Smoky Mountains were heavily logged, losing as much as one-half of their stands of virgin timber. The book offers photographs of the people, the railroads, the bridges and the heavy equipment, and the large trees involved in these massive operations. The Park was established, in part, to save the mountains from complete denuding in further timbering operations. Besides the logging, the Smoky Mountains became a haven for hikers. Harvey Broome was an early hiker who receives much attention in this book. He would ultimately become the founder of The Wilderness Society. Portions of the mountains also attracted a resort clientele, in part due to the attractions of mineral water. The resort communities which flourished up to the establishment of the Park receive documentation in two chapters of the book.

The most appealing chapters of the books are those which describe the mountain communities and their environs. The book shows a great deal of the character of mountain life, and I would have liked more. There is a consideration of the range of activities of those who lived in the mountains as well as some focus on individuals. For example, we learn about the seven Walker sisters who lived in a cabin in a mountain homestead from the 1930s to 1950s, about a lanky mountain entrepreneur, Levi Trentham (1852 - 1936) who succeeded in several ventures even though he was illiterate, and about Horace Kephart, author of a famous book about the mountain people called "Our Southern Highlanders." Our Southern Highlanders: A Narrative of Adventure in the Southern Appalachians and a Study of Life Among the Mountaineers Two chapters "The People of the Mountains" and the "Vanished Communities of the Great Smoky Mountains" tell the story of a rugged way of life that virtually disappeared from the Mountains with the establishment of the Park. Another chapter about the people of the mountains, "Gatlinburg" describes the bordering towns and how they changed in character from small, rural communities to tourist destinations with the establishment of the Park.

The establishment of the park, including the efforts of community leaders in North Carolina and Tennessee, and the purchase of the lands of the mountain families, the timber companies, and other landowners is described in a chapter of the book. Sadly, the old homes of the mountaineers were little preserved and today are largely relics in the Park. A final chapter of the book describes the dedication of the Park in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt and takes a short look at early tourism subsequent to the dedication to the Park and the surrounding towns..

The book offers a good photographic introduction to the land and people of the Great Smoky Mountains before and at the time of the establishment of the Park. A map of the park and its landmarks and their relationship to the adjacent communities would have been useful. I used a rough map in a National Park Service brochure of the Park to get my bearings.

Robin Friedman
I would strongly recommend this title for anyone with an interst in the Great Smoky Mountains. Mr. Cotham has done an excellent job of compiling photographs and sources. These photographs are breathtaking images that are not commonly seen in other books on the Smokies. If you know someone that has an interest in the Smokies or photography in general, this would be an excellent gift.

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