What's In A Name?

By Darryl Payne
Posted on May 20, 2013


If you've ever visited the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, chances are you stayed in or visited one of the three main cities in Sevier County – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Visitors often ask locals about the origins of these three city names, so this week, Smoky Mountain vacation info offers up a mini history lesson about how each city got its name.

Gatlinburg – Originally known as White Oak Flats, this mountain village nestled in the Smokies was named for one-time resident Radford Gatlin. He settled in the community in the 1850s and opened a general store, which also offered postal service. The pro-Confederate Gatlin didn't get along well with most of his Union-sympathizing neighbors and was run out of town in 1859. But his name stuck around.

Pigeon Forge – This name comes from two sources – the iron works, or forge, built along the Little Pigeon River by Isaac Love around 1820; and the passenger pigeons that often flocked along the river during the time of the early white settlers. FYI, that species is now extinct.

Sevierville – This one's easy. Like Sevier County, its largest city and county seat was named after John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee.

Pigeon Forge



Darryl Payne the blogger

About Darryl Payne

Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.


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