Dolly Parton Reacts to Statue in Her Image in the Smoky Mountains

dolly parton statue in sevier county, tennessee

There is a Dolly Parton statue in Sevier County (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

“That’s the only time you’ll ever catch me out of my high heels,” says Parton

It can be risky to commission a monument. One day it’s a great idea, but sometimes, years later, all you have is a controversial landmark. But there are also times when creating a statue to honor a native son or daughter is a no-brainer. Such is the case with Dolly Parton, possibly the most beloved singer-songwriter of our time.

Dolly Parton has a bronze statue in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. In this imagining, Dolly sits on a rock, hair pulled back and holding her beloved guitar. Her rolled-up jeans give the impression of her bare feet dipping into a frigid mountain stream on a warm summer day. A butterfly rests near one of the guitar’s frets and Dolly looks off into the distance with a beaming smile. In a way, I think it’s interesting that this is the season of Dolly’s life they chose to portray. I guess it makes sense, logically. She is captured as a young Dolly with big dreams.

dolly parton statue in front of courthouse
The Dolly Parton statue is located in front of the courthouse (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Fun facts about the Dolly Parton statue

Here’s a fun bit of trivia: There was once talk about having a statue of Dolly Parton at the Tennessee capitol in Nashville. It began with a debate over the bust in the state capital of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general. In 2019, Dolly’s name was mentioned as a potential replacement. The idea had support from plenty of folks, just not Dolly. She said in a statement on social media, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” Some folks mistakenly believe that the statue is located at her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. Even though there’s no statue, there are several other accolades for her throughout the park. For example, you can visit a replica of her childhood home there.

When the statue was dedicated in 1987, Dolly was already one of the most beloved women in the world. A talented songwriter, country music singer, musician and actress, she was just embarking on an endeavor to show off her business acumen as Silver Dollar City was rechristened Dollywood. Dolly is truly a native daughter who can’t be celebrated enough. Also, I’ve seen a few statues in my day, and in my humble opinion, this one is among the best I’ve seen. Created by Jim Gray, the statue is an excellent representation of Dolly. There’s a joy of heart present that transcends the cold bronze of which it is made. It reminds me, honestly, of Peter Pan’s statue in Hyde Park in London. It captures a puckish spirit that I find befitting a young Dolly.

Wings of Wander mural downtown Sevierville
The Wings of Wander mural is located along E Main Street in downtown Sevierville, within a few blocks of the statue (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What does Dolly Parton think about her statue?

In a YouTube video uploaded in 2011, Dolly talks about her statue and said, “I’ve had all kinds of wonderful awards. But I think probably one of the things I’m proudest of in my whole career, my whole life, really, is this statue of me in the courthouse yard in Sevierville.” Also, she says in the video that her dad would try to humble her a bit by telling her, “To your fans, you may be some sort of an idol, but to the pigeons down at the courthouse, you’re just another outhouse.” She continued:

“My dad was so sweet, he was proud of it. They told me later … he used to sneak out at night, late after the town had kinda calmed down and go down and scrub the pigeon poop off my statue. I know that you think I’m tryin’ to be funny, but I’m not, ’cause I cried my eyes out when I heard that.”

In a more recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, the icon quipped about her statue, “That’s the only time you’ll ever catch me out of my high heels.”

a side view of the dolly parton statue
Dolly Parton has a statue in her hometown of Sevierville, TN (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Where is the Dolly Parton statue?

Dolly Parton’s statue is located on the Sevier County courthouse lawn in downtown Sevierville. There are also many other nods to the legend, including the Wings of Wander mural nearby. Have you ever seen the Dolly Parton statue? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Dolly Parton Reacts to Statue in Her Image in the Smoky Mountains”

  1. I love this Lady. Her her music,the story of her life.everything about her.years ago I wanted to be a gofer for her,just to be around her and get to know her.She is a wonderful human being. Love you always.

    Reply
  2. Dolly Parton’s statue was done by my long time artist friend Jim Gray from our teenage days in Mobile, AL. Jim was an amazing artist. He passed away in December of 2019.

    Reply

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