Parkway to History: What Makes Pigeon Forge so Magical?

We all know that Pigeon Forge is a great place to visit. Many of us feel like the area is part of our personal history. We've been coming here for years with our families, sometimes even across the generations.

Parkway to History: What Makes Pigeon Forge so Magical?

Memory Lane

I remember my grandpa used to keep two photos on his desk: One of my mother at age 10 posing in front of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park sign, the other of me at the same age in the exact same place. Though the photos were taken 30 years apart, they were the same: Two little girls in awkward shorts and ugly glasses with enormous smiles plastered on their faces, both thrilled about exploring the mountains and basking in the neon lights on the Parkway.

Passenger Pigeons

Even though the area is a part of our personal histories, Pigeon Forge also has deep roots on a cultural level. The name Pigeon Forge is even part of history. Our city takes its name from the river running through it, and the river gets its name from a now-extinct bird – the passenger pigeon – that was indigenous of the area.

Pigeon Forge History

The Old Forge

The word "Forge" in our city's name comes from an old iron mill, built around 1820 by Isaac Love. Today Old Mill Square stands near where the original forge was once. Knowing that it's the city's namesake might make your candy taste even sweeter next time you visit!

The Old Mill

The forge churned out iron until around 1884, when a logging operation took its place. Though the area was still remote, the first telephone line appeared about a decade later, and Pigeon Forge started to grow. The area started top become more accessible, and trains and automobiles were soon brining folks into the area to take in the mountainside splendor.

Pigeon Forge Parkway

The famous Pigeon Forge Parkway, the highway that connects visitors from East Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina, was first laid in the early 1950s. In the 60 years that have since passed, many attractions have come and gone, each one contributing to the fun and magic that makes Pigeon Forge a fabulous place to visit.

Top Parkway Attractions

And with this in mind, I'll be spending the next few weeks highlighting some of Pigeon Forge's rich past. I invite y'all to take a trip back in time with me as we explore the area's history!

Remember, you can get in on the discussion yourself at the Pigeon Forge Facebook page! We'd love to hear your favorite Pigeon Forge memories from past and present alike.

We all know that Pigeon Forge is a great place to visit. Many of us feel like the area is part of our personal history. We've been coming here for years with our families, sometimes even across the generations.

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