Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tour the Smokies with Tim Hollis

For more than a century, the mountainous areas of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina have attracted thousands of tourists each year. The region that stretches from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to Lookout Mountain on the Tennessee and Georgia border is affectionately known to visitors and locals as the Land of the Smokies. Many come to this area to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while other visitors take delight in the quirky tourist attractions that sprang up along the highways.

The Land of the Smokies: Great Mountain Memories (University Press of Mississippi) is a book full of tourist nostalgia from the 1950s and 1960s. With his own unique style and wit, Tim Hollis (Dixie Before Disney, Florida’s Miracle Strip), has compiled an incomparable history of family fun and tourist attractions in the mountains. The book features 250 color illustrations of photographs, postcards, travel brochures, and historiography, all celebrating the Great Smoky Mountains.

This book is not merely a reflective nod to days gone by. Hollis uses his insightful narrative and illustrations to dissect trends in motel advertising, the flood of miniature golf courses, and the history of the charming restaurants that kept tourists fed for so many years.

The Land of the Smokies details how the national park was created out of former farms and homesteads, charts the development of Gatlinburg’s craft industry, and the development of live theaters and celebrity theme parks, such as Dollywood. Hollis makes special mention of tourist favorites Christus Gardens, Rock City, and Ruby Falls, and the more obscure Tour Through Hell, Magic World, and Santa’s Land.

Tim Hollis is the author of numerous books, including Dixie Before Disney: 100 Years of Roadside Fun; Florida’s Miracle Strip: From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast; Hi There, Boys and Girls! America’s Local Children’s TV Programs; and co-author of Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records, all from University Press of Mississippi.

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