On this day in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was founded — more than 520,000 acres of land spanning Tennessee and North Carolina. It is the most visited national park in the country, with some 10 million guests moving through each year.
Most national parks were formed from government-owned land, landscapes where few people would want to live. But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had to be carved from the land of hundreds of small farmers who had made their homes in Appalachia for generations. More than 1,200 inhabitants were asked to leave when the park was created, leaving behind their homes and communities. Many of their original log buildings have been preserved as part of the park.