Where is Dolly Parton’s childhood home? Is it still there?

Dolly Parton's Tennessee Mountain Home

Guests can tour a replica of the real-life childhood home of Dolly Parton at Dollywood (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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Dolly Parton was born into a world on the cusp of seismic change. 

The fourth of Avie Lee and Robert Parton’s 12 children, she came into the world in a manner familiar to many East Tennesseans of her generation.

Though prosperity came to many in Sevier County, the Parton’s single room cabin in the mountains of Pittman Center would have been familiar to generations of her people going back to their arrival in the mountains as Welsh immigrants. 

Dolly’s parents soon moved to a slightly larger cabin on Locust Ridge, where Dolly grew up in poverty that might have been considered crushing, if it wasn’t quite so commonplace. 

Today, Dolly credits much of her business sense to her father, a farmer who, despite being illiterate, is said to have possessed an uncommon acumen for turning profit.

Likewise, she credits her mother – the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher – for the musical abilities that made her a star and for her faith to pursue that path. 

Read Also: 6 lessons learned from the Dolly Parton’s America podcast

A sign outside Dolly Parton's childhood home replica at Dollywood
A sign outside of Dolly Parton’s childhood home at Dollywood explains that the home was constructed by Dolly’s brother, Bobby. The interior was reproduced by her mother, Avie Lee (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Dolly Parton’s path from poverty to philanthropy

I suspect there are few people in the world who can even begin to fathom Dolly Parton’s 75-year journey. 

Dolly has travelled from crushing poverty to rising musical performer, from popular singer-songwriter to actress, from multi-talented performer to global icon.

Along the way she’s proven to possess an uncommon head for business, a heart for philanthropy and a spirit that crosses any and all social boundaries.

The list of Dolly’s peers is short, and they are titans: Bill Gates, Oprah and Michael Jordan spring to mind; people who used uncommon talent to transcend disciplines and rise to unimaginable levels of success. 

I think Dolly’s closest comp is probably Paul McCartney; an otherworldly talented musician and songwriter who dabbled in acting, has a quick wit and whose work changed the world.

I keep waiting for some TV exec to put the two of them in a room and just let them talk, maybe even duet. 

I think it would be magnetic. 

How Dollywood became Dolly’s own living history

Dolly has done a lot over the years to help us understand the place from which she came – both in the larger sense and quite specifically with her cabin on Locust Ridge. 

Through movies, music, songs and books, Dolly has time and again turned to her art to open windows into the world that helped create her.

We’ve seen actors, under Dolly’s watchful eye, bring her parents and siblings to life. She sang about her “Coat of Many Colors” and the Tennessee Mountain Christmases.

She told us about the butterflies and mountain flowers, of her parents’ struggles and her own triumphs. 

In many ways, she has helped turn Dollywood into her own living history.

From Wildwood Grove, an idealized version of the mountains of her youth, to the magic of a Country Fair and to the recreation of 50s era Sevierville in Jukebox Junction, Dollywood is – in many ways – the best way to understand the pieces of her life that make her Dolly.

But with rides. 

This isn’t some arm-chair psychoanalysis. 

Dolly made her purpose clear in Rivertown Junction, where Dolly’s Tennessee Mountain Home sits. 

Read Also: Dollywood history: A look at Rebel Railroad, Goldrush Junction

You can tour Dolly’s replica childhood home inside Dollywood at Rivertown Junction (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Is Dolly’s childhood home at Dollywood a replica?

Dolly Parton’s childhood home at Dollywood is a replica of the original cabin on Locust Ridge.

It was designed by Dolly’s brother and decorated with the approval of her mother.

It is Dolly inviting you in to see what life was like in a tiny mountain community in Sevier County in the 40s and 50s.

The striking thing about it is just how so many people could inhabit that small space at the same time. 

The sign outside the replica reads:   

“This cabin is a replica of the Parton Homeplace where Robert Lee and Avie Lee Parton raised Dolly and her 10 brothers and sisters.”

“Most of the items on display are original family treasures. The original cabin still stands at its location in Locust Ridge.”

Again, Dolly was born into a changing world.

A table sits inside Dolly Parton's childhood replica home
The inside of Dolly’s childhood home replica is filled with real family treasures (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Is Dolly’s cabin in Locust Ridge still there?

The cabin on Locust Ridge would not have been considered wildly out of place in the late 40s.

But by the time Dolly turned 25, the only people living in such a home would be those in the most remote parts of the mountains. Or someone clinging purposefully to the old ways. 

That Dolly makes all this available in the park is incredibly giving to her fans but also somewhat telling.

She knows that people are fascinated by her journey so this museum was created to sate that thirst.

But the real home is important to Dolly, too. And that is not shared so easily. 

Dolly’s parents sold the land, but she bought it back

At some point, her parents – being practical mountain people – sold the old home. There’s no point in hanging on to something they no longer needed. 

But Dolly sentimentally bought the land back and has fixed the home up to return it to its 1950s state.

She’s joked that she spent millions making that cabin look as poor as it did when she was a child. 

Where is Dolly Parton’s Locust Ridge home?

You can get to the outskirts of the original home if you make the drive up to Locust Ridge, nearby Evans Chapel.

But don’t expect to get too close. A tall fence surrounds the property, and trespassers are not welcome. 

But in those mountains, the combination of the majesty and the accompanying isolation is tangible.

It doesn’t take much imagination to picture a sunny-headed girl running among the trees and up and down the hills, singing a song, chasing butterflies, picking flowers for her mom. 

We can’t fathom the journey that Dolly Parton has taken since she left Locust Ridge. But we can go back and picture the place where it all started. 

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23 thoughts on “Where is Dolly Parton’s childhood home? Is it still there?”

  1. I would love to meet Dolly Parton personally. She is a beautiful intelligent woman. She jump in and helps alot when the fires
    happened in Gatlinburg. What a amazing person she is.

  2. Dolly Parton is the best gift the state of Tennessee ever gave to the world. She is a “beloved woman” in the Cherokee vernacular.

  3. One of my cousin has already meet Dolly I wish I could meet her. I love ever thing about Country. I grew up the Country back in53. I Love Dolly .I live in Marietta, GA. Hope To See you Soon. Love Mary Jane Oskey

  4. I love Dolly. She has always been a dream friend of mine..ever since I was a small girl..I would pretend we was friends.And have always felt a connection with our souls..lol..we share a birthday….I was blessed to stay in her suite at the dream more..Was a dream come true….On my bucket list to met her some day..

  5. I also liked her sing and songs and remember her quite and cute laugh back from her television show

  6. Dolly Parton is a very nice person and I love all of her songs that she sings and the clothes that she wears

  7. I would like very much to meet Dolly Parton
    She and I have one thing in common I also had a coat of .any colors that my mama made for me
    I have watched every .oviedo she was ever in my 2 favorites being A Joyful noise and the best little whore house in Texas
    Coming to Dolly Wood and visiting Pigeon Forge is the last thing left for me to do but finances are
    Where we can not do that I would also like to get to.meet Dolly Parton

  8. Dolly, Is a true “Treasure”! Whatever kinda day you are having, her presence. Always bring a smile to your face. So glad she has shared her gift from God with the world.

  9. One of my bucket list things us ti meet Dolly Partin.
    Why, simply we were born the same day, January 19.
    Truly Dolly is one of the greatest entertainers of all time.

  10. I love to meet dolly partons shes one of my best country actress shes amazing my mom and i just to watch all her movies over and over again. Sadly my mom pass.

  11. I would love to meet Dolly Parton, my Brother n law lives in Knoxville. He use to own Mail Box Etc.

  12. Dolly is a relative of mine. I’m from Locust Ridge where I was born as raised as well and yes the house still remains (sorta). It was completely remodeled. Not only that she has a guest house, church, school, barn and general store on top of the beautiful grounds. We are some of the relatives you encounter if you try getting into her property which happens numerous times. The house in Dollywood is actually NOT an exact replica. Close but not exact. She will always be a Locust Ridge girl.

  13. Dolly Parton is the real thing. She is an incredible singer songwriter. Pure genius. Her voice has been the same for 50+ years. She had a big dream and the work ethic to make it happen
    My grandchildren get her books and look forward to having them read

  14. Praying no time soon; but where will Dollys final resting place be? And will it be tourist welcoming? My biggest wish was not only to sing with her but hopefully to meet her in person. In my heart I know that dream will never come true sadly . So at the most maybe sit at her resting place some day. Gods true living angel here on earth. Love her BIG 💕

  15. I loved Dolly Parton songs that she sings and that she thanks God for the many gifts she’s been given. And that she cares about people no matter who they are.
    Love in Jesus Christ Marie Heimiller

  16. Hi Jackie! Unsure about the final resting place (Also hope that it’s no time soon!) But if you ever go to DreamMore, there’s a “Dream Box” that is full of Dolly’s memories and wishes for the future that will be opened on her 100th birthday. It includes a never-before-heard song titled “My Place in History”, and only Dolly knows the melody and content — until 2046, that is!

  17. Oh my dolly and I started my childhood with her music n her spirit to the music growing up made it easier cos my family and I could relate to her music even know she still does it for me I mite never get to see you but it is as if I already know you through your music

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