Jo Dunn, REALTOR/CDPE/NAR & TAR MEMBER

Area Information

History of Sevier County

Sevier County as it is known today was formed on September 18, 1794 from part of neighboring Jefferson County, and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county was named for John Sevier, first governor of Tennessee, who played a significant role during the difficult early years of settlement in the region. Since its establishment in 1795, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville is the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.

Prior to the late 1930s, Sevier County did not receive any more attention than any other county. However, the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the early 1930s changed that dramatically. Today, rampant tourism supports the county's burgeoning economy which does not appear to be slowing any time in the near future.

Tourist attractions

The tourism industry drives the county's economy. The following destinations are among the most popular in the area:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, southern Sevier County: Established in 1936 and propelling the tourism industry in Sevier County ever since, the national park is the most visited in the entire system, welcoming over 10 million nature enthusiasts every year, most of which arrive through Sevier County.
  • Dollywood, Pigeon Forge: The theme park named for part-owner Dolly Parton (who was born in Sevierville) admits 2.2 million guests a year, making it both the most popular theme park and most frequented attraction (after the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) in Tennessee.
  • Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg: Opened in 2000 and designated the most visited aquarium in the United States in 2001, when over 2 million tourists passed through its galleries, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is the largest single tourist draw in Gatlinburg.
  • Ober Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg: The Ober Gatlinburg ski resort sits above Gatlinburg, offering numerous attractions for visitors unique to the county, including winter ski slopes and an indoor ice skating rink. The tramway that takes visitors to and from the Gatlinburg Parkway is touted as "America's Largest Aerial Tramway."
Economy

From its beginnings as a traditional subsistence-based farming society, Sevier County has grown into a major tourist destination since the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which dominates the southern portion of the county. Though the park effectively killed the struggling logging industry in the late 1930s, it spurred the development of one of the largest tourist resorts in the United States of America, as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now the most visited national park in the country. In recent years the tourism bubble has expanded beyond the city of Gatlinburg, which borders the Northwestern segment of the national park, and into the nearby cities of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.