Pigeon Forge is an American city that is located in Sevier County, Tennessee. It covers an area of twelve square miles and has a population of only five thousand residents. The city can trace its history to the eighteenth century. The name of the city comes from an old iron forge that was built in 1820 by
Isaac Love. The forge was located on Little Pigeon River, in the area of what is now the Old Mill. The first Europeans in the area followed the Indian Gap Trail down to the area in the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, religion played a big role in the beginning of Pigeon Forge. This was when large groups of Methodist followers entered the area. Large revivals were also held in the area of Middle Creek and could last for weeks at a time. These groups of religious followers brought a fresh influx of cash into the area and jump started its development. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pigeon Forge was isolated from the rest of the world and had no major roads or highways. In 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was opened to the public. After te 1950s, the addition of roads in the area and the renovation of US Highway 441 caused campgrounds and lodges to be started in the city. This is when the economic boom of the city started. In 1961, right after the city was incorporated, a new attraction was built in the city by Harry and Grover Robbins. It was called the Rebel Railroad and simulated a ride on a Confederate train that was attacked by Union soldiers during the Civil War. In 1964, the brothers renamed it Rebel Railroad Goldrush Junction and based it on a wild west theme. It was sold in 1976 to theHerschend Brothers of Branson, Missouri. They promptly renamed the attraction Silver Dollar City and based it on an Ozark Mountain theme. Silver Dollar City would eventually become Dollywood.
During the 1980s, Pigeon Forge decided to start an economic plan that was based on adding theme parks, outlet malls and live music shows. That very year, the first outlet mall of the city was built, Factory Merchants. After that more outlet stores opened and several theme parks and attractions. A popular attraction in the city is Dollywood. his is a theme park owned by country music star Dolly Parton, as well as the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation and was originally known as Silver Dollar City. This park has many different thrill rides, craft exhibitions and features the music of the Smoky Mountains. Also located here is the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame and the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Restaurant. This park has over two and a half million visitors each and every year. Adjacent to the park is Dollywood’s Splash Country. It was opened in 2001 and has many features. Some of these features include The Cascades, Bear Mountain Fire Tower, The Butterfly, Big Bear Plunge, Down Bound Float Trip, Mountain Waves, Wild River Falls, Raging River Rapids, Mountain Scream, Fire Tower Falls, Swift Water Run and Little Creek Falls. It also has a variety of restaurants which include High Country Provisions, Miss Mamie’s, Brush Fire Grill, Uncle Elmer’s, Depot Grill, Outpost Snacks, Cascades Lemonade, Campsite Grill and Low Country Snacks.
Another prominent attraction in Pigeon Forge is the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. This museum is located at Dollywood and is run by the Southern Gospel Music Association. It was founded in 1997 and has thousands of items of memorabilia pertaining to the gospel music industry. It also has a gift shop. Inductees into the hall of fame include John Wallace Fowler, Gloria Lee Sickal Gaither, Herman Clay Harper, Lou Wills Hildreth, Eldridge Locke Fox, Earl Smith Gatlin, Vestal Goodman, William James Gaither, Polly Grimes, Jim Hamill, Joel Hemphill, Connor Brandon Hall, Vernon Hyles, Rose Carter Karnes, Charles Key, W. Jake Hess, Howard Goodman, Kenny Hinson, Jimmy Jones and Arnold Hyles.
A popular park in the city is Pigeon Forge City Park. This park covers eighteen acres of land and features a one and a quarter mile walking trail, five softball fields, two basketball courts, six tennis courts, one volleyball court, two pavilions, a horshoe pit, two playgrounds, a swimming pool and two concession stands. The other park in the city is called Patriot Park and is located on sixteen acres. Patriot Park contains a half mile walking trail, one pavilion, sixteen picnic tables, a gazebo and eighteen park benches.
Pigeon Forge is also known for its many car shows which run from April to September of every year. In fact, the city has become somewhat of a mecca for automobile enthusiasts over the past several years. Shows and events that have been held in the city include Nova Nationals, Great Smoky Mountain Truck Show, Silver Dollar Open Rod Run, Spring Grand Rod Run, Smoky Mountain Model-A Car Rally, Cobra Mustang Club, Pontiac Car Club Show, Annual Smoky Mountain Classic Chevy Roundup, Shades of the Past Rod Run Show, Fall Grand Rod Run, Chevy Truckin’ Nationals and the GMC Truck Nationals.
Other attractions in the city of Pigeon Forge include The Grand Majestic, Magic Beyond Belief, Hoot N’ Holler Dinner & Show, MagiQuest, Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show, The Miracle Theater, Comedy Barn, Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show, Memories Theater, Incredible Christmas Place, Smoky Mountain Cat House, Zorb Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Outdoors Whitewater Rafting, Grand Resort Hotel, Elvis Presley Museum, Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park, Adventure Quest, Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show, Three Bears Gift Shop, Firehouse Golf, Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, Country Tonite Theater, Mountain Memory Tours, Smoky Mountain Dog House, National Antique Mall, Dinosaur Walk Museum, Wild Wheels Family Fun Center, Belz Factory Outlet World, Hill-Billy Village, Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride, Brown’s Kitchen Kupboard, Movie Rider Theater, Yesterday’s Antiques & Collectibles, Thomas Kinkade At Waldens Landing, The Edge Indoor Skateboard & BMX Park, Wild Wheels Family Fun Center, Fun Time Trolley and the Black Bear Jamboree Dinner Show.