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GSMNP: Public's help needed in locating, identifying pre-20th century homesites

It is estimated that more than 2,400 former homesites can be found in the park. 70% of these homesites have been identified, but more remain.
Credit: GSMNP

Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking help to identify and document former homesites in the park. 

Frank March, in conjunction with Park Archeologist Allison Harvey, is leading the research efforts to document field locations with associated historic records. 

The public was originally invited to join March and Park Archivist Mike Aday at the Swain County Visitor Center and Heritage Museum on Saturday, Aug. 20, to learn more about the project and to add copies of their historic records to the collection -- but that event was postponed due to illness. The park has not provided a new date yet for when that event will take place.

“In order to gather as much information as possible we are reaching out to the local community to see if we can get old photos and information which may help with the project,” March said.

March estimates that more than 2,400 former homesites can be found in the park. 70% percent of these homesites have been identified, but more remain.

Records associated with the purchase of approximately 1,200 farms between 1920 and 1940 for the creation of the park are preserved in the park’s Collections Preservation Center. However, the history of habitation in the park dates to the 1790s and many of these pre-20th century homesites are not documented.  

March and Aday encourage the public to bring historic photos of old homesites, hand-drawn maps, or other documents that will help the park identify these locations. Aday will scan the materials and provide digital copies and original documents back to the owner. 

For any other additional information, email Aday Michael_aday@partner.nps.gov 

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