Have you always wanted to vacation in Pigeon Forge TN? This beautiful area of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains provides nearly endless opportunities for family fun and lasting memories! Learn more about Pigeon Forge history with some facts you probably didn’t know:
1. First settlers
Before the pioneers made their way to the area, the valley was used as a hunting ground by the Cherokee Indians native to this part of Appalachia. The Indian Gap Trail, which is the now known name of the original Native American footpath, went through Pigeon Forge toward North Carolina, and this trial brought the first pioneers to the area. Among them include Isaac Love, and his son William, who went on to build the iconic grist mill that is still in operation today. Another one of the first permanent settlers was Colonel Wear, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.
2. Nearly a completely different state.
In the late 1700s, before Tennessee was officially ratified as a state, Sevier County, along with several other territories making up modern-day counties, almost became the Union’s 14th state. This new territory which included Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg was called Franklin, in honor of the well-known Founding Father; however, they failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority and were not recognized as an official state.
3. How Pigeon Forge got its name
Another interesting Pigeon Forge history fact is how it got its name! As one of the first pioneers in the area, Issac Love built an iron forge along the Little Pigeon River. The riverbanks were at that time lined with beech trees, a popular source of food for the now-extinct passenger pigeon. So the combination of the iron forge and flocks of birds quite literally gave this little town a name!
4. Civil War in the Smokies
While Pigeon Forge was not a central location for Civil War fighting, the historic mill was used as a makeshift hospital and a clothing factory for the Union Army.
5. The beginning of tourism
Before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934, tourists had been coming to Pigeon Forge since the late 1880s. The area had grown in popularity after a health resort opened and offered healing and rejuvenation from the mineral mountain water at Henderson Springs.
About Pigeon Forge Today
Currently, there are only about 6,300 permanent residents in Pigeon Forge, but the area attracts millions of visitors each year due to its proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the US! It’s no wonder that Pigeon Forge is constantly expanding with its variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, including our outdoor tubing hill and amusement park! The Smokies has so much to offer, and the best way to learn more about Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area is to come and experience it for yourself!
Now you know a few interesting facts about Pigeon Forge history. Do you enjoy this type of content? Check out some fun facts about the Smoky Mountains!