(865) 436-2300 | Lunch 11:30 a.m. Daily | Dinner Menu 5:00 p.m. Sun-Fri / 4:30 p.m. Saturday

History & Heritage

Our Smoky Mountain History & Heritage

The Park Grill Restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is proud to share in the rich history and heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains. We are even more excited to share it with everyone who visits.

The Great Smoky Mountains stretch along the Tennessee-North Carolina border and are home to a diverse group of people. The Smokies get their name from the blue smoke-like mist that rises from their peaks. The Cherokee Indians called them Sha-Kon-O-Hey which means “Land of Blue Smoke.” These peace-loving people held “a deep reverence for the natural world” and their continued devotion to tradition is still visible today.

The mountain people who later settled here had their own traditions based around pioneer lifestyle and clever ingenuity. These resourceful people lived off the land and their everyday life blended faith, family, music, farming, and yes, moonshining which formed the Southern Appalachian culture we know today.

Many of those beloved Southern Appalachian traditions are being preserved and re-introduced to visitors by devoted artists and master craftsmen. A visit to the Arts & Crafts Community and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts offers a look back in time when the people of the Smokies depended on working with their hands and living off the land.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered in 1934 and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. In 2009, on the 75th anniversary, Dolly Parton, an international country superstar who was raised in these mountains, served as its Honorary Ambassador. The beloved “Blue Valley Songbird,” as she is known, released her album “Sha-Kon-O-Hey, Land of Blue Smoke” composed of songs she wrote about the mountains she calls home. True to her famous down-home, generous spirit Dolly donated the proceeds of the album to the non-profit “Friends of the Smokies” organization which supports the National Park.

At the Park Grill we invite you to come join us for dinner and enjoy all the best flavors of our Southern Appalachian influences while dining in our rustic mountain lodge.

Local Artisans Showcased

The Smoky Mountains are home to thousands of local artisans who are master craftsman. 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.

Wind Sculptures

The kinetic works of Lyman Whitaker are on display on the grounds in tall Wind Sculptures™. Since the 1980’s he has focused his artistic ability on gracefully capturing the spirit of the wind through his kinetic art. His work is on display in Public Art installations throughout the country. The sculptures are handmade of copper, steel, and stainless steel – metals chosen for their beauty and durability. An applied patina encourages the natural verdigris of weathered copper. Each Wind Sculpture™ spins on a sealed ball bearing and is responsive to the slightest breeze. The undulating movements of Lyman’s sculptures reflect the many rhythms of nature as they move with the wind. Captivating and calming, these fine works of art will be enjoyed for generations to come.

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