Newfound Gap in Sevier County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
New Gap, New Road
— Great Smoky Mountains National Park —
I do not . . . favor the scarring of a wonderful mountainside just so we can say we have a skyline drive. It sounds poetical, but it may be an atrocity.
Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, 1935
It’s not easy to travel through the mountains. Even driving the Newfound Gap Road is a challenge. That’s probably how many mountain people felt – blessed – when they began using the “new-found gap” in the latter half of the 19th century, and the name stuck.
The move to establish Great Smoky Mountains National Park was led more by economic boosters than conservationists. Auto clubs, who wanted good roads through beautiful scenery, pushed hard for the park. In the late 1920s Tennessee and North Carolina began a road-building race to reach Newfound Gap to open up the developing park to tourism. The road was completed in 1932. That April the first visitors drove on it over Newfound Gap.
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Early park supporters believed building park roads would bring economic prosperity to the region. Ben Morton, for whom this overlook is named, was such a believer.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1935.
Location. 35° 36.788′ N, 83° 25.424′ W. Marker is in Newfound Gap, Tennessee, in Sevier County. Marker is on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) ¾ mile north of Clingmans Dome Road, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, at the Morton Overlook on Newfound Gap Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gatlinburg TN 37738, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rockefeller Memorial (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Great Smokies (approx. 0.2 miles away in North Carolina); The Appalachian Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away in North Carolina); Hands That Built (approx. 0.2 miles away in North Carolina); “To the free people of America” (approx. 0.2 miles away in North Carolina); Land of Diversity (approx. 0.2 miles away); People of the Mountains (approx. A Mountain Sanctuary (approx. 0.2 miles away in North Carolina). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newfound Gap.
More about this marker. The background of the marker features a 1930s photograph of a car on the Newfound Gap Road. A photo of Ben Morton appears in the sidebar on the right of the marker. The left side of the marker contains a photo of the Newfound Gap being constructed. It has a caption of “Most of the Smokies ridge tops were kept road-less to maintain the park’s wilderness values. To avoid scarring the mountainsides with road construction, great care was taken to prevent erosion and blend road features, like walls and bridges, with the natural landscape.”
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.