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.