Townsend, Tennessee, a very small town in Blount County, is located on “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies”, and is one of the three gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the United States. Population during the 2010 census was just 448 residents.
Prior to 1900 this scenic area was called Tuckaleechee Cove, a name meaning “peaceful valley” that was given by the Cherokees, who built small villages along Little River as early as the 1600's. But by the time the first settlers arrived in Tuckaleechee in the late 18th century, the Cherokee had abandoned the villages as they had moved south and west to evade encroachment by the colonists. In 1900, Colonel W.B. Townsend of Pennsylvania, purchased 86,000 acres and began a lumber business. The town that sprang up around the mill was named after him, and there was rapid expansion of logging operations throughout the Smokies. When conservationist stepped in, Townsend sold his land to what has become the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Today, tourism helps to keep Townsend's economy healthy as it offers beautiful vistas, an array of outdoor recreation, bluegrass music, and a few restaurants and motels. Picture of Historical Marker near the site of the Cherokee Villages of Tuckaleechee and picture of 70-ton Shay engine at the Little River Railroad and Lumber Museum, and the The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center are all courtesy of Wikipedia and Brian Stansberry.