Townsend’s Shadows of Past historic trail receives $4,000 grant

From Press releases

Townsend’s Shadows of the Past historic trail, which currently includes 13 historic sites along ten miles, is getting a financial boost from the state.

The trail is the recipient of a $4,000 Community Enhancement Grant awarded by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office. The grant will be used to revise, reprint, and distribute the Shadows of the Past guide booklet. Revisions will include the addition of ten new sites to the trail, for a new total of 23, along with updated information on the current sites. The new brochure will also contain more graphics and will be more user friendly.

The Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) in conjunction with the City of Townsend requested the funding when it became available last year.

“We are very fortunate to receive this money. Many organizations are deserving of the funds, and we are pleased that projects like the bike trail, which are essential to establishing our sustainable tourism base, are recognized as important to support. I would like to thank Senator Finney for his leadership and for helping the SMCVB and Townsend get this grant to help such a vital project,” said Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism for the SMCVB. “The trail guide has been one of the most popular publications that the SMCVB does, and this upgrade is sure to make an even better product for visitors and locals.”

Informational signs posted along the trail, as well as the brochure, provide information about the region, which was once home to early Native Americans going back thousands of years, and a part of the great Cherokee Indian nation, as well as one of the largest logging operations in the Great Smoky Mountains. The trail runs parallel with US Highway 321 but takes visitors on a diverse journey through sites that date as far back as 9,000 years and as recent as the 1930s. Those sites include Indian dwelling grounds, grocery stores, cabins, a cemetery and a church.

The trail and its corresponding brochure were created with the help of the Leadership Blount Class of 2002 and Addison West.

“The trail was designed not only to provide a history of the area to visitors, but to keep up with the demand of today’s tourists who are migrating toward areas that provide heritage, history and a sense of place. Visitors want to learn about the uniqueness of our region, and this trail helps them do that,” said Handly.

The visitors bureau believes that improving the brochure will help to increase knowledge about and appreciation of the history of Townsend.

“The trail is paved, and not a strenuous walk or bike ride, so most visitors will be able to enjoy it,” said Handly. “The improvements that will be made using the grant will only make the trail more inviting to visitors.”

The Shadows of the Past brochure, which provides detailed information for each site, can be obtained at the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau located at 7906 East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend.

Townsend is located at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is about 45 minutes from Knoxville on Hwy. 321. For more information on the Townsend area, please call the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-525-6834 or 865-448-6134, or visit the bureau online at

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