1. 1870s. (click to see all items from decade)
  2. U.S. signs into law its first national park, Yellowstone.
  3. 1880s. (click to see all items from decade)
  4. 1890s. (click to see all items from decade)
  5. Appalachian National Park Association (ANPA) formed.
  6. 1900s. (click to see all items from decade)
  7. ANPA presents a petition to Congress that includes 10 bullet points listing reasons to establish a park in the Appalachians.
  8. NC General Assembly passes a law allowing the federal government to own title to its lands for national park and forest reserve.
  9. ANPA hosts a convention at Battery Park Hotel in Asheville. Over 1,500 people attend.
  10. ANPA disbands.
  11. 1910s. (click to see all items from decade)
  12. U.S. government creates the National Park Service (NPS), placing the agency under the Department of the Interior where it remains today.
  13. 1920s. (click to see all items from decade)
  14. NC General Assembly establishes the North Carolina Park Commission with the authority to acquire land for a national park.
  15. Secretary of the Interior appoints the Southern Appalachian National Park Commission to look at various NC sites for a park.
  16. Congress, with the approval of President Coolidge, passes a bill to allow surveyors to establish park borders.
  17. Funds for acquiring land amount to 5 million dollars, two from each state and one million in donations pledged by citizens. Over 4,500 school children donated pennies to raise $1,000 toward the effort.
  18. NC legislature allocates 2 million in taxpayer dollars toward a park. Tennessee quickly follows suit.
  19. Rockefeller foundation pledges an additional 5 million, giving the effort the rest of the funds needed to complete the purchases of land.
  20. NC Highway Commission begins surveying a route up the Oconaluftee River to Newfound Gap.
  21. Stock market crashes, plunging the U.S. economy into the Great Depression.
  22. Suncrest Lumber Company sues North Carolina, challenging the Commission's right to acquire land, losing at the Supreme Court.
  23. 1930s. (click to see all items from decade)
  24. NC deeds 60,000 acres to the Department of the Interior, taking the first tangible steps toward creating a park. Tennessee soon follows suit.
  25. Horace Kephart publishes Our Southern Highlanders.
  26. J. Ross Eakin named first superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  27. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established as a public works program to alleviate unemployment during the Great Depression.
  28. Almost all the land within park boundaries is purchased and deeds turned over to the federal government.
  29. CCC recruits 250,000 unemployed young men. Over 4,000 are assigned to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  30. Congress authorizes full development of the park, establishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the 22nd national park in the nation.
  31. Completion of the 360-degree "loop-over" on Newfound Gap Road.
  32. Completion of a skyline road, or "Skyway," from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome.
  33. President Franklin D. Roosevelt visits western NC, traveling by motorcade.
  34. 1940s. (click to see all items from decade)
  35. President Roosevelt dedicates the park on Labor Day.
  36. CCC disbanded.