Townsend TN Info., History

Officially, 1921 was the year that Townsend received its charter by the state of Tennessee. Officials with the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company played a large part in the founding of Townsend at the time. They felt that a collective voice representing the residents of the area would benefit everyone involved.

The City of Townsend has no property tax.

The main source of revenue is the state sales tax collected by city businesses. Some of the other sources of revenue to the City are: in lieu of taxes, franchise taxes, beer taxes, and road taxes.

The City provides services to the people. Some are police protection; street maintenance; street lighting; fire protection through paid subscriptions for City residents to the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department; planning; zoning and recreation.

The City of Townsend holds to the commission form of government. The Commission is made up of 5 commissioners. The five commissioners are elected to 4 year terms. Seats are staggered so 3 are elected and then two years later 2 are elected.

The 5 elected commissioners then elect one of their number to be Mayor. The Mayor serves for two years. In the same manner the elected Commissioners then elect one of their number to serve their City in the capacity of Vice-Mayor.

The Current commission is made up of the following elected public officials:
– Mayor: Michael Talley
– Vice-Mayor: Becky Headrick
– Commissioner: Ron Palewski
– Commissioner: Jackie Suttles
– Commissioner: David Wietlisbach

Kenneth Myers was appointed as the City Council Representative liason to the Townsend Alumni Association as they work toward restoration of the old high school building, which is now being used as the Townsend City Office, Townsend Police Headquarters, and Alumni Association meeting facility.

The City of Townsend holds it regular monthly meeting the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Sometimes that has to change for reasons not predicted by the staff and Commission so please check the local paper to see if we have had to re-schedule a meeting.

The City of Townsend employs a full-time recorder, part-time building inspector, a full-time maintenance person, a full time police chief and three police officers.

Office hours are Monday-Thursday: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and Friday: 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

If you would like to speak with someone about the city, a new permit, or any issue pertaining to our fine city please call 865-448-6886.

The City of Townsend also has a Municipal Planning Commission that meets the second Thursday of every month at the City office. These folks have the responsibility to follow the guidelines of the Zoning and Sub-division laws of the City and to review and approve site plans and sub divisions.

The Members of the Planning Commission are : Chairman Sandy Headrick, Vice Chairman Jo Anne Funk, Secretary Steve Fillmore, Mayor Mike Talley, Commissioner David Wietlisbach, Alicia McClary, and Chester Richardson.

If you would be interested in volunteering to serve on the Planning Commission please contact the Mayor.

Please direct any comments to P.O. Box 307, Townsend, TN 37882.

Cades Cove’s Missionary Baptist Church

cadescovemissionarybaptistBaptists first made their mark in Cades Cove in 1825 when John and Lucretia Oliver organized a branch of the Miller’s Cove Baptist Church in the cove. In those days it was an independent entity.  Many of the first Baptist churches in the area would eventually split from one another over issues regarding missionary work and other practices.

Baptists at the time Cades Cove and the Smokies was settled were divided into a few groups: church members who supported Sunday schools, the practices of missionary work and temperance societies, and those that didn’t support any of those initiatives. To some there just wasn’t that Biblical text that called for such things in worldly society. When these issues came about, a number of Cades Cove Baptists, including pastor Johnson Adams, were dismissed from the original Baptist church affiliation due to their beliefs.

On May 15, 1841, Adams and other disenfranchised Smokies pioneers banded together and established the Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church. The start was rocky. They had no meeting house and had to meet in individual homes. Sometimes they made arrangements to meet at the Primitive Baptist or Methodist church buildings. Also, in the Smokies there was much confusion over the Civil War. During the Civil War and reconstruction, the Missionary Baptists didn’t meet for long periods of time. After the war however, they had a particularly successful revival and were able to erect their own church building in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains. Their church was constructed on Hyatt Hill in 1894.

Over the years, the church roll would grow from 40 to over 100 members, prompting the construction of a new building in 1915.  This building is the one visitors to Cades Cove can still see today.

Metcalf Bottoms

If you’re looking for a great picnic location near Townsend, Tn, be sure to give Metcalf Bottoms in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a shot next time you’re in the area. There, you’ll find picnic tables placed at various points along the Little Greenbrier River. It’s also a great swimming and tubing hole during those hot summer months.

The Little Greenbrier River really draws people to this area of the Smokies. It’s a river that not only allows for tubing, but for things like rock hopping as well. And the river’s never lacking for any swimming holes.

At Metcalf Bottoms there’s plenty more to do than just swimming. The Little Greenbrier schoolhouse is located just off a trail past the picnic area. It’s a 0.5 mile wooded trail that’s great for an afternoon jaunt or stroll. It’s not a totally smooth trail as rocks and other natural creations like roots jut out at many places along the way. Walking the trail isn’t the only way to get to the school, you can also drive if you’d rather not go by foot.

If you do decide to drive, travel about a half a mile to a gravel road leading to the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse on the right. That’s after you cross the bridge. you’ll find that the desks and blackboard still remain in the schoolhouse from when it was last used sometime in the 1930’s. One teacher taught at Greenbrier school and educated children from grades 1-8. On the hillside just outside the schoolhouse you will find an old community cemetery. Wander around the cemetery and look at the names of some of the earliest folks to settle the Smoky Mountain region.

The Walker Sisters’ home site is another attraction you might want to visit next time you’re at Metcalf Bottoms. Located just off the parking lot for the Greenbrier Schoolhouse is the trailhead. This is a special place because the Walker sisters were some of the last living residents inside what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  When the national park was established in the Smokies by the U.S. government, the five sisters refused to sell their land. An agreement with the government was finally reached where the land was sold but the Walkers retained a lifetime lease on the property. They said the land produced everything they needed with the exception of sugar, coffee, soda and salt. Until 1964, when the last Walker sister died, the sisters farmed the land while supplementing their income with the sale of souvenirs to tourists.

Cades Cove Controlled Burn Scheduled for This Week

Don’t be surprised if you see a few brush fires being watched in the Cades Cove area this week. Great Smoky Mountains National Park fire management personnel will be conducting a few controlled burns in Cades Cove Nov. 5-9. Of course, this is one dependent on weather cooperation.

In all, about 570 acres are tabbed to be burned as a part of this prescribed burn.

In order to keep Cades Cove’s fields from being reclaimed by forest, they are strategically being burned. Around 950 acres of fields are mowed twice a year that are visible to motorists and cyclists from the Cades Cove Loop Road. The Cove’s many other fields – totaling around 1,500 acres, are kept up by burning or mowing on a three-year rotation.

These seasonal controlled burns benefit the park as well as its inhabitants. They encourage new grass, providing high quality cover and opportunities for wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds who forage for food on the ground.

Without these prescribed burns, officials with the park say that Cades Cove would quickly convert to pine and hardwood forest, instead of the lush green meadows people are used to seeing.

The burn will be carried out by national park staff. Firefighters will ignite the grasslands each day and make sure the fire stays within its designated boundaries. Grass sections surrounding each field marked for burning have been cut short in order to contain the burned sections.

Cades Cove Loop Road will remain open this week but motorists may experience delays due to smoke or other safety concerns.

“Motorists are asked to reduce speed in work zones and if smoke is present, keep windows up and headlights on,” said Dave Loveland, fire management officer. “The public, of course, will notice smoke in the valley but it will dissipate quickly and not unduly impact their visit.”

Tuckaleechee Cove

Tuckaleechee Cove is Townsend, TN and Townsend, Tennessee is Tuckaleechee Cove. Think about that for a second.  Actually, Townsend is more a part of Tuckaleechee Cove – a place in the Smokies where the Little River meets the more urban settings of Townsend.

The area has been a hotbed of  archeological findings over the years as Native American artifacts have yielded clues that date their people, primarily Cherokee, back 10,000 years. Englishmen first settled the area in the 1700’s, areas now known as Townsend and Cades Cove. Still, by the time those first settlers arrived, the Cherokee had long since abandoned their villages. During that time, the railroad and a growing logging industry brought commerce and development tot he small Smoky Mountain settlement.

The name ”Tuckaleechee” comes from the Cherokee word “Tikwalitsi”. It’s actual meaning is still unknown even to this day.

As previously mentioned, the Little River Lumber Company was chartered in 1900 by Colonel W.B. Townsend, whom the town takes its name from. It wasn’t until the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was founded in the 1930’s that logging completely stopped. Up until that time, almost two-thirds of the region’s woodlands had come down under the saw and blade of the Little River Lumber Company. It wasn’t until he was under tremendous pressure from conservationists that Col. Townsend sold 76,000 acres to the federal government that would become national park land.

Tuckaleechee Cove is also said to be one of several “limestone windows” located in the Smoky Mountains. These windows form when erosion carries away older rocks like sandstone, thus exposing younger rock formations below, like limestone. Some of the other limestone windows in the Smoky Mountain area include Cades Cove and Jones Cove. Located between Bates Mountain to the north and Rich Mountain to the south, Tuckaleechee Cove’s population is estimated at around 1,500. Little River, which flows from high in the mountains on the north slopes of Clingmans Dome, slices east-to-west through Tuckaleechee and drains much of the cove. The city of Townsend is found on the eastern half of Tuckaleechee.

Getting to Townsend, TN – The BEST Route.

In years past, if you were coming to Townsend, Tennessee you were likely going to take in Cades Cove’s majestic beauty and time-worn structures. With so many local eateries and outdoorsy offerings, people have made it more of a destination here lately than a stop on the way to Maryville or the Great Smoky Mountains. So, what way is best if I want to get to Townsend many of you have asked…. Well, there are a few ways.

Coming west from Maryville via Knoxville, you’ll travel east along Lamar Alexander Parkway/U.S. 321/Hwy. 73 through Walland straight into Townsend. Between this route and the route coming through Pigeon Forge, there really isn’t a better way. It just depends on if you’re coming into town from the east or west. To quote an old saying, “It’s as broad as it is long.”

As noted, if you’re coming from the Great Smoky Mountains area already – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, etc., you’re well on your way there already. You’re best bet is to head west on Wears Valley Road which is right in the middle of Pigeon Forge at traffic light No. 3. From there, Wears Valley Road/U.S. 321/Hwy. 73 will take you through Wears Valley and its many foothills before you reach the center of Townsend.

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