This is an online event. Please register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwvfuCuqDsqE9Nya692hQxJjU9M9sPZ_rqE
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park didn’t formally open to the public until the 1930s, but it began as an idea in 1923—and not in Washington, D.C., but in downtown Knoxville. It was a giant project, involving family homes and industrial sites, first conceived at a grass-roots level. It took years of work by lawyers, financiers, politicians, artists and intrepid hikers to make it a reality. Much of it happened in office buildings downtown, involving Knoxville’s first female legislator, as well as some civic leaders whose differences sometimes erupted into fistfights. On Thursday 19, near the centennial of the first public discussions, Jack Neely and Paul James will offer a presentation about what they’ve learned about the origin of a national park, and how the critical work to make it happen took place here in the city. Free program.