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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains stream

“Backpacking is one of the many reasons I want to come back to Tennessee! #ORNLStory”

Evidence suggests that as long as 15,000 years ago Native Americans might have inhabited the Great Smoky Mountains. The highly-civilized Cherokee Indians were hunting, farming and living in the foothills when the first Europeans arrived in the late 1500s. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the first of its kind, was authorized in 1934 and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.


In 1786, James White established the community that would later become Knoxville. In 1791, the community was named Knoxville. Blount College was created in 1794 and is known today as the University of Tennessee. Knoxville has many historical sites and museums for history enthusiasts to visit.

Oak Ridge

The construction of Oak Ridge started in 1942 as part of the Manhattan Project. Today, sections of Oak Ridge are part of the Manhattan Project National Park. Additionally, the American Museum of Science and Energy discusses both Oak Ridge’s history and scientific endeavors.