On this date in 1940, thousands of people gathered at Newfound Gap to hear President Frankiln Delano Roosevelt dedicate the park that he had been quite influential in building. Standing on the recently finished Rockefeller memorial, with one foot in each state, FDR spoke of the importance of preservation, but also of the growing conflict in Europe.
Although the official establishment date of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is June 15, 1934, when the US Congress approved 400,000 acres of park land as an official unit of the National park System, the Smokies would be made to do without official celebration of this accomplishment until 6 years later. Although plans for Franklin Delano Roosevelt to officially dedicate the park had been going on for many years after the parks establishment date, a large-scale dedication including a presidential visit proved difficult to pull together.
Here's a very short video of some scenes from the actual dedication:
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