History & Heritage

Discover the rich history of the Smoky Mountains and The Park Grill.
Learn the History of the Smokies

Smoky Mountain History & Heritage

The Park Grill in Gatlinburg is proud to share and celebrate the rich history and heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We’re stepping back in time to tell you about the people who first lived in our beautiful mountains. The people who settled in the Smokies had their own traditions based around a hard-working lifestyle. These settlers lived off the land, and their everyday life blended faith, family, music, farming.  These concepts combined to form the root of what Appalachian culture came to be.

Many of those beloved Southern Appalachian traditions are being preserved by visitors, devoted artists and master craftsmen. If you’re interested in learning more about Smoky Mountain history, we recommend visiting the Arts & Crafts Community and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. A visit to these two places offers a look back in time when the people of the Smokies depended on working with their hands and living off the land. Some of the magnificent pieces of art will give you a look at what early life in the Smokies was all about!

national park sign

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered in 1934 and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The park is filled with history, and visitors love exploring the many historic structures, landscapes and artifacts that are preserved in the park. With its rich history, gorgeous views and abundance of wildlife, it’s no surprise that the beautiful Smoky Mountains have grown to be a place that millions of visitors enjoy every year. In fact, it’s the most visited national park in the United States! Enjoy 150+ hiking trails, gorgeous waterfalls, scenic drives, picnic areas, animals and more when you visit the Smoky Mountains.

Wind Sculptures

The works of Lyman Whitaker are on display in tall Wind Sculptures™. Since the 1980s, Whitaker has focused his artistic ability on trying to capture the spirit of nature. His work is on display in public art installations throughout the country, and his sculptures are handmade of copper, steel, and stainless steel. The reason these metals were chosen is because of their excellent durability. Each Wind Sculpture™ spins on a sealed ball bearing and is responsive to the slightest breeze. The movements of Lyman’s sculptures reflect the many rhythms of nature as they move with the wind. By putting these sculptures on display at our Gatlinburg restaurant, we hope to bring a greater appreciation for nature.

Local Artisans Showcased

sparksThe Smoky Mountains are home to thousands of local artisans who are master craftsmen. Many of their crafts were once part of daily life here in the mountains, like blacksmiths, glass blowers and pottery makers. Today, our way of life might be a bit different, but the value of these fine works is still treasured.