The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is getting ready to celebrate the 79th anniversary of its dedication.
The United States government established the park in 1926, though it took a number of years for them to raise appropriate funds. Then on June 15, 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was born!
The formal dedication happened more than half a decade later. On Sept. 2, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt formally dedicated the park along the Tennessee and North Carolina state line at the Rockefeller Memorial in Newfound Gap.
"There are trees here that stood before our forefathers came to this continent; there are brooks that will run as clear as on the day the first pioneer cupped his hand and drank from them," President Roosevelt spoke. "In this park, we shall conserve these trees, the pine, the redbud, the dogwood, the azalea, the rhododendron, the trout and the thrush for the happiness of the American people."
The original plaque on the Rockefeller Memorial reads: "For the permanent enjoyment of the people this park was given one half by the people of the states of North Carolina and Tennessee and by the people of the United States of America and one half in memory of Laura Spellman Rockefeller by the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial founded by her husband John D. Rockefeller."
You can find the site of the historic dedication on your next trek to Newfound Gap: