Sevier County Courthouse in Sevierville
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
|Founded||September 28, 1794|
|Named for||John Sevier|
|• Total||598 sq mi (1,550 km2)|
|• Land||593 sq mi (1,540 km2)|
|• Water||5.2 sq mi (13 km2) 0.9%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||152/sq mi (59/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Sevier County ( // "severe") is a county of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 89,889. Its county seat and largest city is Sevierville.
In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.
Tennessee is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by eight states, with Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a 2017 population of 667,560 and a 2017 metro population of 1,903,045. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which had a population of 652,236 in 2017.
Sevier County comprises the Sevierville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, TN Combined Statistical Area.
Knoxville is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Knox County. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 178,874, and is Tennessee's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which was 868,546 in 2015.
Morristown is a city in and the county seat of Hamblen County, Tennessee, United States. Morristown also extends into Jefferson County on the west and southern ends. The population was 29,137 at the 2010 United States Census. It is the principal city of the Morristown, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Grainger, Hamblen, and Jefferson counties. The Morristown metropolitan area is also a part of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area. Morristown is primarily located in Hamblen County, while a small portion of the city is located in Jefferson County.
The Knoxville metropolitan area is the metropolitan area centered on Knoxville, Tennessee, the third largest city in Tennessee and the largest city in East Tennessee. In 2014, the KMSA had an estimated population of 857,585. The KMSA is, in turn, the central component of the Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2016, had a population of 1,117,758.
Prior to the arrival of white settlers in present-day Sevier County in the mid-18th century, the area had been inhabited for as many as 20,000 years by nomadic and semi-nomadic Native Americans. In the mid-16th century, Spanish expeditions led by Hernando de Soto (1540) and Juan Pardo (1567) passed through what is now Sevier County, reporting that the region was part of the domain of Chiaha, a minor Muskogean chiefdom centered around a village located on a now-submerged island just upstream from modern Douglas Dam. By the late 17th-century, however, the Cherokee — whose ancestors were living in the mountains at the time of the Spaniards' visit— had become the dominant tribe in the region. Although they used the region primarily as hunting grounds, the Chicakamauga faction of the Cherokee vehemently fought white settlement in their territory, frequently leading raids on households, even through the signing of various peace treaties, alternating short periods of peace with violent hostility, until forcibly marched from their territory by the U.S. government on the "Trail of Tears".
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaskan Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
Juan Pardo was a Spanish explorer who was active in the later half of the sixteenth century. He led a Spanish expedition through what is now North and South Carolina and into eastern Tennessee on the orders of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who had built Fort San Felipe (1566), and established Santa Elena, on present-day Parris Island; these were the first Spanish settlements in what is now South Carolina. While leading an expedition deeper in-country, Pardo founded Fort San Juan at Joara, the first European settlement (1567–1568) in the interior of North Carolina.
Chiaha was a Native American chiefdom located in the lower French Broad River valley in modern East Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. They lived in raised structures within boundaries of several stable villages. These overlooked the fields of maize, beans, squash, and tobacco, among other plants which they cultivated. Chiaha was the northern extreme of the paramount Coosa chiefdom's sphere of influence in the 16th century when the Spanish expeditions of Hernando de Soto and Juan Pardo passed through the area. The Chiaha chiefdom included parts of modern Jefferson and Sevier counties, and may have extended westward into Knox, Blount and Monroe counties.
Sevier County was formed on September 18, 1794 from part of neighboring Jefferson County, and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county takes its name from John Sevier, governor of the failed State of Franklin and first governor of Tennessee, who played a prominent role during the early years of settlement in the region.Since its establishment in 1795, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville (also named for Sevier), the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.
John Sevier was an American soldier, frontiersman, and politician, and one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee. He played a leading role in Tennessee's pre-statehood period, both militarily and politically, and he was elected the state's first governor in 1796. He served as a colonel of the Washington District Regiment in the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780, and he commanded the frontier militia in dozens of battles against the Cherokee in the 1780s and 1790s.
The State of Franklin was an unrecognized and autonomous territory located in what is today Eastern Tennessee, United States. Franklin was created in 1784 from part of the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains that had been offered by North Carolina as a cession to Congress to help pay off debts related to the American War for Independence. It was founded with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state of the new United States.
Sevier County was strongly pro-Union during the Civil War. When Tennessee held a vote on the state's Ordinance of Secession on June 8, 1861, Sevier Countians voted 1,528 to 60 in favor of remaining in the Union.In November 1861, William C. Pickens, Sheriff of Sevier County, led a failed attempt to destroy the railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains as part of the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy.
Strawberry Plains is an unincorporated community straddling the boundary between Jefferson, Knox, and Sevier counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee. Before 2010, it was treated by the United States Census Bureau as a census county division.
Prior to the late 1930s, Sevier County's population, economy, and society— which relied primarily on subsistence agriculture — held little significance vis-à-vis any other county in the rural South. However, with the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the early 1930s, the future of Sevier County (within which lies thirty percent of the total area of the national park) changed drastically. Today, tourism supports the county's economy.
Subsistence agriculture occurs when farmers grow food crops to feed themselves and their families. In subsistence agriculture, farm output is targeted to survival and is mostly for local requirements with little or no surplus trade. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year. Planting decisions are made principally with an eye toward what the family will need during the coming year, and secondarily toward market prices. Tony Waters writes: "Subsistence peasants are people who grow what they eat, build their own houses, and live without regularly making purchases in the marketplace."
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the United States with over 11.3 million recreational visitors in 2016. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Maine to Georgia. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 598 square miles (1,550 km2), of which 593 square miles (1,540 km2) is land and 5.2 square miles (13 km2) (0.9%) is water. The southern part of Sevier County is located within the Great Smoky Mountains, and is protected by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The northern parts of the county are located within the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. Sevier contains the highest point in Tennessee, Clingmans Dome, which rises to 6,643 feet (2,025 m) along the county's border with North Carolina. Mount Guyot, located in the Eastern Smokies in the extreme eastern part of the county, is the state's second-highest mountain at 6,621 feet (2,018 m). The 6,593-foot (2,010 m) Mount Le Conte, a very prominent mountain visible from much of the central part of the county, is the state's third-highest.
Sevier County is drained primarily by the French Broad River, which passes through the northern part of the county. A portion of the French Broad is part of Douglas Lake, an artificial reservoir created by Douglas Dam in the northeastern part of the county. The three forks of the Little Pigeon River (East, Middle, and West) flow northward from the Smokies, converge near Sevierville, and empty into the French Broad north of Sevierville. The West Fork is the best known, as it flows through the popular tourist areas of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
The maximum elevation differential in Sevier County is the greatest in Tennessee, ranging from a high of 6,643 feet (2,025 m) at Clingmans Dome to a low of 850 feet (260 m) at the French Broad River.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census 120 inhabitants per square mile (46/km2). There were 37,252 housing units at an average density of 63 per square mile (24/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.27% White, 0.56% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.42% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 1.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.of 2010, there were 89,889 people, 37,583 households, and a homeownership rate of 68.7 percent, below the state average. The population density was
There were 28,467 households out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.30% were married couples living together, 10.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.80% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.00% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 29.80% from 25 to 44, 26.30% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,719, and the median income for a family was $40,474. Males had a median income of $27,139 versus $20,646 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,064. About 8.20% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.10% of those under age 18 and 10.10% of those age 65 or over.
Sevier County was Tennessee's third fastest-growing county by percentage change in population between the 1990 census and 2000 census.
The head of the Sevier County government, the county mayor (known as county executive until 2003), is elected in county-wide elections. The mayor serves along with a 25-member board of elected commissioners representing districts covering the many small communities spread across the county.
Sevier County, like most of East Tennessee, votes strongly Republican in Presidential elections. The last election in which a Republican failed to carry it was in 1912, when the Progressive Theodore Roosevelt carried it. It has not been carried by a Democrat since 1832, when it went for Andrew Jackson. In 1916 it gave Charles Hughes 90.38 percent of the vote—reportedly his highest percentage of any county in the nation.In 1932 Herbert Hoover received 77.01% of the vote and in 1936 Alf Landon received 77.73%. Since 1916 no Republican candidate has received less than 55% of the county's vote and in 2008 John McCain received 73.4%. All of the county's state legislators are Republicans, and Republican candidates routinely garner well over 70 percent of the vote on the occasions they face opposition at all.
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. One of the very reasons for the park's creation, however, was also one of the county's first major economic engines: the lumber industry. Establishments in what is now the national park felled large amounts of timber in the early 1900s. Though the park effectively killed the 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.
The commercial cabin rental industry has grown tremendously in recent years.
The tourism industry drives the county's economy. The following destinations are among the most lucrative for the area:
The Sevier County school system is composed of thirty-two public and private institutions ranging from Head Start programs through a number of secondary schools. In addition, two post-secondary institutions have campuses within the county.
There are two post-secondary institutions in the county, both located in Sevierville. The first is a satellite campus of the Morristown-based Walters State Community College.The second is a satellite campus of Johnson City-based East Tennessee State University.
In addition to the federally operated Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevier County is home to numerous smaller community parks, primarily within the cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. The most significant of them are listed as follows:
The massive development of the tourism industry in Sevier County in recent years, while blessing the county with good economic fortunes, has put a major stress on the county's roadways. In an effort to control this the county has put forth numerous projects to widen existing highways, and the cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have also implemented a bus service oriented towards visitors, which ferries tourists to and from various popular destinations throughout the towns via decorated buses referred to as "trolleys."
The Great Smoky Mountains Parkway connects Interstate 40 (Exit 407) to the national park via the cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. From the exit, the Parkway follows Tennessee State Route 66 ("Winfield Dunn Parkway") into Sevierville, where it becomes U.S. Route 441/Tennessee State Route 71 as TN-66 terminates at a four-way intersection where US-441 splits from U.S. Route 411 and changes direction. It continues along US-441 through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, before entering the national park, where it ascends to the crest of the Smokies at Newfound Gap and crosses into North Carolina (although by this time it is no longer known as the "Great Smoky Mountains Parkway"). The Parkway is joined U.S. Route 321 in Pigeon Forge and they run concurrently until US-321 splits away in downtown Gatlinburg. Along this stretch of U.S. and Tennessee highways, a nearly continuous tourist sprawl (separated only by a spur route of the Foothills Parkway, known as "the spur") has emerged in the three communities.
Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (KGKT)
Sevier County, like much of rural Southern Appalachia, consists of relatively few incorporated municipalities and numerous unincorporated settlements.
Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. It is located 39 miles (63 km) southeast of Knoxville and had a population of 3,944 at the 2010 Census and an estimated U.S. Census population of 4,144 in 2018. It is a popular vacation resort, as it rests on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441, which connects to Cherokee, North Carolina, on the southeast side of the national park. Prior to incorporation, the town was known as White Oak Flats, or just simply White Oak.
Pigeon Forge is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 5,875. Situated just 5 miles (8 km) north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is a tourist destination that caters primarily to Southern culture and country music fans. The city's attractions include Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country as well as numerous gift shops, outlet malls, amusement rides, and musical theaters.
Pittman Center is a town in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 477 at the 2000 census and 502 at the 2010 census, showing an increase of 25. The town has a large number of overnight rentals and a large campground that house a number of people far larger than the resident population. The average daily population is believed to be around 2,500 people. The town borders Gatlinburg and has six miles of U.S. 321, which supports an excess of ten thousand vehicles a day en route to Gatlinburg.
Sevierville is a city in and the county seat of Sevier County, Tennessee, located in Eastern Tennessee. The population was 14,807 at the 2010 United States Census and 16,531 according to the 2018 census estimate.
The Little Pigeon River is a river located entirely within Sevier County, Tennessee. It rises from a series of streams which flow together on the dividing ridge between the states of Tennessee and North Carolina inside the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The river is subdivided with three separate tributaries: East, Middle, and West.
The Foothills Parkway is a national parkway which traverses the foothills of the northern Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, located in the southeastern United States. The 72.1-mile (114 km) parkway will connect U.S. Route 129 along the Little Tennessee River in the west with Interstate 40 (I-40) along the Pigeon River in the east.
The Great Smoky Mountains Parkway travels 14.5 miles (23.3 km) between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Sevierville, along U.S. Route 441 and State Route 448, in east Tennessee. It serves both, as the main thoroughfare for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and a 4.3-mile (6.9 km) spur of the Foothills Parkway.
The Gatlinburg Bypass is a 3.6-mile-long (5.8 km) bypass of the resort city of Gatlinburg in Sevier County, Tennessee. The route is owned and maintained by the National Park Service and is considered part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Sugarlands is a valley in the north-central Great Smoky Mountains, located in the Southeastern United States. Formerly home to a string of small Appalachian communities, the valley is now the location of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park headquarters and the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Lying just south of Gatlinburg, the Sugarlands is one of the park's most popular access points.
Wears Valley is an unincorporated community in Sevier County, Tennessee, treated by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census county division. As of the 2000 Census, the population of Wears Valley was 6,486.
State Route 71 is a north–south state highway in Tennessee. For most of the length it is a "hidden" route, as it coincides with US 441 in all but a short section in Knoxville. The road begins at the North Carolina state line in Sevier County within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Newfound Gap and ends at an intersection with US 25W, SR 116, and SR 9 (hidden) in Rocky Top. Along its length SR 71 passes through Sevier County, a small portion of Blount County, Knox County, Anderson County, and in and out of Campbell County.
Greenbrier is a valley in the northern Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, located in the Southeastern United States. Now a recreational area, Greenbrier was once home to a string of Appalachian communities.
Wear Cove is a valley in southwestern Sevier County, Tennessee. It runs parallel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just to its south. Like other park border regions, the history and economy of the valley are intertwined with that of the Smokies. The primary community is Wears Valley.
State Route 448 is a state highway located completely within the city of Sevierville in Sevier County, within the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is more commonly known as North Parkway. There are three northbound lanes, a center turn lane, and one southbound lane. This is in order to accommodate for the traffic heading north out of the busy tourist area, since the majority of the southbound traffic enters via SR 66. The posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). The entirety of the route carries the east branch of the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway.
The Pigeon Forge Mill, commonly called the Old Mill, is a historic gristmill in the U.S. city of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Located along the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River, the mill complex currently consists of a millhouse, breastshot wheel, and milldam, all of which are operative. The mill is the only structure in Pigeon Forge listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
State Route 449 is a 6.2-mile-long (10.0 km) north–south state highway in Sevier County, within the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It travels from US 411 overlaying Veterans Boulevard and some of Middle Creek Road in Sevierville south to US 441/US 321 (Parkway) in Pigeon Forge. It serves as a bypass around the busy tourist areas in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.
State Route 73 is west-north state highway in East Tennessee. For most of its length, it is an unsigned companion route to U.S. Route 321.
State Route 454 (SR 454) is state highway in Sevier County, Tennessee. It serves as bypass of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge and a route to the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community.
The 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires were a complex of wildfires which began in late November 2016. Some of the towns most impacted were Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, both near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The fires claimed at least 14 lives, injured 134, and is one of the largest natural disasters in the history of Tennessee.
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