Newport’s and Cocke County’s history is woven together with the stories of Appalachian life, mountains, rivers, and the people who lived here.

If you don’t know this name- Wilma Dykeman- you should.   Author, conservationist, activist, and historian, Ms. Dykeman’s legacy in Cocke County touches the very water we drink, fish, and play in, while her writing have captured the imagination of so many who come to visit the Smokies.

She chronicled the French Broad as a river, a watershed, and a way of life where yesterday and tomorrow meet in odd and fascinating harmony. And how was she to know, that her assertion that environmental sensitivity can encourage broad-based economic development without risking the balance between nature and commerce.

Her romance with Appalachia’s beauty and with her future husband led her to the ribbon cutting dedication of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Oct 2, 1940.  A month later, she would marry and eventually move to her husband’s family home in Newport, TN along the bluffs of the Pigeon River.   Her life’s work is marked by her legacy.

Read more about the work of this incredible woman here.

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