Editorial: Three cheers

Sep. 06, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

50 years later, Chamber more relevant than ever

The Sevierville Chamber of Commerce is celebrating 50 years next week.

From its humble beginnings of meetings at the Sevier County Courthouse to its current status as the Sevierville’s primary business organization and the marketing arm of the city, the chamber has grown to become of vital cornerstone of the community.

In the five decades since Jimmie Temple, Bo Roberts, Hugh Trotter, John B. Waters, Jr., R.B. Summitt, Sr., Judge Ray L. Reagan, Herbert Lawson, Dr. John Hickey, Norman Burchfiel, E.W. “Cap” Paine, Lyle McNabb and Charlie Bell were elected as the chamber’s first board of directors, both the organization and city have grown exponentially.

Since hiring its first employee, Reba Huff, in 1971 for its small A-frame building on Main Street, the chamber has grown to a staff of 13 in a spacious office next to the municipal buildings.

Sevierville has a healthy chamber of commerce, normally a good sign of a healthy municipality. Here’s to 50 more years.

Depression era workers remembered 80 years later

Eighty years ago President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ushered in the New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps as a federal work relief program in the depths of the Great Depression.

For $30 a month, thousands of unemployed laborers enrolled, and were assigned to work camps across the country.

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as many as 4,000 enrollees were assigned to 22 CCC camps, according to the park, at various times from 1933-1942.

The crews built roads, trails, fire towers and structures. The impact of their work is still evident in the park today.

Next Saturday, the park is hosting an 80th anniversary event to mark the beginning of the CCC at Sugarlands Visitor’s Center, beginning at 10 a.m.

It’s a worthy cause to remember, as it helped shape the park — and Sevier County — as we know them today.

Book tells story of last GSMNP residents

Congratulations are in order for Carroll McMahan, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce special projects facilitator.

McMahan, who regularly authors the Upland Chronicles column for the Press, will see the publication of his second book, entitled “Elkmont’s Uncle Lem Ownby” next month.

McMahan is a history buff and can speak all day on local lore.

His first book, Images of America’s “Sevierville” was more of a pictoral history of the city, while the new book details the life of Lem Ownby — from his beginnings at Jake’s Creek until he was the National Park’s final resident.

The book is being published by The History Press, based in Charleston, S.C., and should be available locally in early to mid-October.

McMahan worked hard on the project, and beginning next month, he’ll see the fruits of his labor.