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Great Smoky Mountains looking for help identifying former homesites in the park

The research includes documenting field locations associated with historic records. They estimate more than 2,400 former homesites are in the park.

Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — The history of the Great Smoky Mountains is long, with families settling in the mountains and building homes that people later left. Now, officials are hoping to find those homesites once again and identify them.

Officials with the park said they were asking for help to identify and document former homesite locations in the park. Frank March, the volunteer-in-park, is working alongside the park's archaeologist, Allison Harvey, to document homesites associated with known historic records.

Officials said they estimate more than 2,400 former homesites are in the park, and around 70% of those have been identified. They said that historic records show that the government bought around 1,200 farms between 1920 and 1940 to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

However, Europeans have lived in the park since the 1790s, according to officials. They said many homesites before the 20th century have not been documented.

Credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

So March and Mike Aday, a park archivist, are asking people to bring photos of old homesites, hand-drawn maps or other kinds of historical records with them to an event where they can learn more about the project.

They will be in the Blount County Library on Saturday from 10 a.m. through 12 p.m. to show people the work they're doing and teach people about the history of the park.

Anyone who brings materials to the event can have the documents scanned, so the park will have digital records to help them identify old homesites in the Great Smoky Mountains. Then, they will return the original documents.

Anyone interested in the project can also learn more by reaching out to park officials.

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