What is Sevierville known for? What’s its claim to fame?

A statue of Dolly Parton sits in front of the Sevier County Courthouse

A statue of Dolly Parton sits in front of the Sevier County Courthouse (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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Throughout its history, Sevierville, TN has been defined by what it isn’t than what it is. 

Sevierville isn’t Pigeon Forge. Sevierville isn’t Gatlinburg. 

Historically, you went to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to have fun. You went to Sevierville to conduct business, get your tags renewed and find a dentist. 

You went to Sevierville because you needed socks and the Kmart was having a blue light special.

That was Sevierville’s vibe. 

But things have changed significantly, especially in the last 20 years. Unable to grow much in width, the Pigeon Forge Parkway’s tourist attractions have spilled over into Sevierville.

This includes the upstart really taking significant wins – especially in shopping, dining and even the lucrative go-kart business.

Tanger Outlets
Tanger Outlets is one of the area’s most popular shopping destinations (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is Sevierville known for?

Today Sevierville is known for shopping. Thanks to Tanger Outlets, Sevierville sits atop the outlet mall game in the region.

The wide variety of shops, conveniently located near the Sevierville-Pigeon Forge line, allows shoppers to get in and get out without experiencing the worst of Sevier County traffic. 

There’s also the popular Smoky Mountain Knife Works store – which houses one of the largest collections of knives you’ll probably ever lay your eyes on.

It’s also home to a variety of tourist attractions including the Forbidden Caverns, Nascar Speedpark, Ripley’s Old Macdonald Mini-Golf, Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo and Dobby’s Adventure Park (with zip lines and horseback riding).

But chiefly, Sevierville is Dolly Parton’s hometown. A Dolly Parton statue that sits on the lawn of the courthouse downtown commemorates her career and contributions to the area.

Read Also: Things to do in downtown Sevierville TN, is it better than Gatlinburg?

Graze Burgers is one of the more popular eateries in downtown Sevierville (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What food is Sevierville known for?

The Chop House acts as a stalwart entry into Sevierville’s dining scene. And overall, the area mainly consists of tourist-friendly chain options. 

However, Sevierville is home to a growing independent food scene. At the helm of that charge is The Appalachian, a fairly new establishment located in the downtown Historic District of Sevierville.

Read Also: New restaurant opens in Sevierville featuring Appalachian cuisine

Created to pay homage to the Smoky Mountains and East Tennessee, The Appalachian offers contemporary Southern Appalachian cuisine in a farm-to-table setting.

Led by Chef David Rule, who worked his way up in prestigious restaurants in the mountain areas of Blount County, The Appalachian offers a weekly menu based on availability as well as a variety of signature cocktails. 

The Appalachian isn’t the only interesting, non-chain dining destination in Sevierville. 

The growing foodie community is also home to the Apple Barn and Cider Mill’s Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. It offers a completely different mountain dining experience, serving up southern comfort food on Apple Valley Road. 

Graze Burgers is another popular farm-to-table dining option with a variety of grass-fed beef burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and shakes. 

Those who appreciate an upscale experience might enjoy Seasons 101.

Five Oaks Farm Kitchen, located across from Tanger Outlets, is also a popular option, especially if you have kids.

A historic marker located in downtown commemorative Sevierville’s rich history (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

How old is Sevierville?

Of course, Sevierville is more than shopping and an interesting dining scene. 

It was once a farming community with a vibrant flatboat trade that could carry goods down the French Broad. Eventually, all the way to New Orleans, Sevierville was at the heart of early 19th-century commerce in the region. 

In a preview of days to come, by 1850 whiskey and moonshine distilleries were quite popular in the area as well. 

Sevierville, founded in 1795, is one of the oldest towns in Tennessee.

Like much of East Tennessee, there was strong Union sentiment in Sevierville in the approach to the Civil War. Less than four percent of Sevier County residents voted to secede.

After the war, Sevierville was the recipient of a postwar construction boom and so began the start of the tourism business.

Visitors sought the healing properties of mountain springs.

In the early 1880s, a vigilante group aimed at running “vice” out of town rose up. The group mainly targeted women accused of prostitution.

By 1893, with the group launching nightly attacks, local doctor J.A. Henderson took the helm of the anti-vigilante group, rechristened as the “Blue Bills”.

After a series of incidents, the State Legislature passed a law banning “extra-legal conspiracies” and vigilante groups. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, created in 1934, changed the trajectory of the region and Sevierville along with it. 

How did Sevierville get its name?

Sevierville, named after Governor John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee, is rich in history.

Much of Sevier County’s history remains today for those who would like to visit it. This includes the Sevier County Courthouse, designed in 1895 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Other historic places in Sevierville include the Riley H. Andes House, designed and built by African-American carpenter Lewis Buckner in 1890.

There’s also Brabson’s Ferry Plantation and Rose Glen, the former home of Dr. Robert H. Hodsden, built in the 1840s.  

Are you thinking about visiting Sevierville during an upcoming Smokies vacation? If you’ve been before, what are your favorite things to do? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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2 thoughts on “What is Sevierville known for? What’s its claim to fame?”

  1. We like to stay at the Mountain Aire hotel and walk to Flapjacks for breakfast. We also like to visit the Cast Iron store which shares the parking lot with Smoky Mountain Knife Works. The Sevierville city park is nice to visit with a picnic. The Busch museum and restaurant is awesome as well.

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