Gatlinburg Real Estate
Gatlinburg’s reputation as a vacation resort community is well-earned. In fact, tourism in the Great Smoky Mountains dates back to the 1930s and the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and as the park’s nearest neighbor, Gatlinburg couldn’t help but benefit from the new influx of visitors from all over America. In 1934, some 40,000 visitors were estimated to have passed through Gatlinburg on their way to the park, but by the following year, that number had already increased to 500,000 nature-seeking tourists.
Also contributing to Gatlinburg’s identity as a tourism town was the founding of what is known today as the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, established in 1912 by the women of the Pi Beta Phi service sorority. Its members encouraged local residents, many of whom had grown up proficient in a wide variety of mountain craft skills, to hone those skills and sell their wares on the local market. Soon, visitors on their way to the national park were stopping in Gatlinburg to purchase arts and crafts, and the seeds of tourism were sown.
Today, Gatlinburg has more than 4,000 year-round residents, but that population swells to upward of 10 million over the course of a year when you account for out-of-town visitors. Wedged into a narrow valley at the base of Mt. Harrison, Gatlinburg’s footprint is small, but its tourist offerings are abundant, boasting attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. And Gatlinburg’s craft legacy lives on today in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, an eight-mile loop north of downtown inhabited by more than 100 full-time artists and craftspeople.