Dolly Parton Statue

One of the world’s most recognized celebrities is from right here in Sevierville, TN. Dolly Parton, the iconic entertainer and entrepreneur, was always a star. Even before she was a household name, Dolly was walking the streets of downtown Sevierville, singing at local businesses, and marching in her high school band. While her biggest fans are visiting Sevierville and the Smoky Mountains, tour this list of the most important sites to see in Dolly Parton’s hometown: 

Sevier County Courthouse

Sevier County Courthouse in Dolly Parton's hometown
Photo Credit: Amy Morton

The Sevier County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1896. A Dolly Parton statue famously greets visitors and locals as they arrive at Downtown Sevierville. During your time in the historic downtown district, listen for the courthouse bell. Chiming on the hour and half-hour, the ringing fills the air with a nostalgic vibe.

The courthouse overlooks downtown and many of the buildings that housed the businesses Dolly references when speaking about her childhood, including Emery’s 5 &10, Red’s Cafe, and The Pines Theater. Grab a Sevierville Historic Walking Tour map on the lawn of the courthouse or download one here. Then, hit the streets to see Dolly Parton’s hometown!

Dolly Parton Statue

Unveiled in 1987 by local artist Jim Gray, this bronze statue made its debut amid a crowd of adoring fans and Dolly’s local friends and family. The statue is a symbol of Sevierville’s love for Dolly, and she has expressed her humble appreciation for the landmark. 

Dolly’s father would often visit the statue at night. With water, soap, and a broom, he would clean the statue so it would look good for visitors. Today, it is one of the most recognizable spots in the area. Snap a souvenir photo with the iconic statue, and then venture out to find the photo-worthy murals in downtown Sevierville.

The Murals of Downtown Sevierville

Red's Cafe mural in Dolly Parton's hometown - Downtown Sevierville
Photo Credit: Amy Morton

Looking for more photo ops? From the Dolly Parton statue, tour Sevierville to see the many Dolly and Dolly-inspired murals. In the murals, the superstar is depicted twice as a young child thriving in her hometown, and once as a young woman just starting her iconic career. Also, the stunning Wings of Wander butterfly mural is a whimsical nod to Dolly and her hit song, “Love Is Like a Butterfly.” Collectively, the murals tell a story of Dolly’s roots. Fans will enjoy taking the Mural Tour in Sevierville and enjoying the shops, eateries, and sites along the way. Dolly Parton’s hometown is almost as charming as she is!

The Pines Theater

Dolly’s first paid performance was at The Pines Theater on Court Avenue in downtown Sevierville. Housing numerous businesses throughout the years, its doors opened as a 700-seat theater in 1944. Residents visited the theater to watch movies and live performances of local and national acts. Some of country music’s biggest stars graced the stage at The Pines, and a few are represented on the exterior mural along Court Avenue. 

This historic theater is the site of Dolly’s famous “greasy pole” story. In the story, she shares how she climbed the pole and won a cash prize. She used that money to purchase her family’s first television so they could watch her performances.

The theater closed in 1957, and the historic building has seen a variety of businesses come and go until 2022. That is when local developer Austin Williams spearheaded a project to restore the theater and transform it into a reimagined entertainment venue. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit The Pines Downtown to try some of Sevierville’s most delicious food and drink, play a round of duckpin bowling, and see the captivating interior mural of Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Headquarters

Children across the world know Dolly as “The Book Lady.” Her philanthropic efforts to reduce literacy rates in Sevier County have spread worldwide, although the headquarters for Imagination Library is right here in Dolly Parton’s hometown. The program began in 1995 and has since distributed over 200 million books! 

Read more about the Imagination Library here and learn how to enroll your child in this free program. 

Dolly Parton Parkway

Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville, TN
Photo Credit: The Tennessean

A portion of US Highway 411 East was designated as Dolly Parton Parkway in 1979. Due to the success of Sevier County’s booming hospitality industry, this section of highway is now one of the most traveled routes in East Tennessee. Dolly Parton Parkway begins at Main Street in downtown Sevierville and stretches past Sevier County High School. The route is rich in restaurants and local businesses. Many of the resources that make living in Sevierville so nice are along the route, including the Sevierville Civic Center, Sevierville Community Center, and Sevierville City Hall.

Sevier County High School

Dolly graduated from the old Sevier County High School (SCHS) in 1964. The present site for the school is on Dolly Parton Parkway, and it was built years after she graduated. During her time at SCHS, she was a member of the Future Homemakers of America and she played drums in the school’s marching band. Knowing that she was destined for stardom, she moved to Nashville after graduation. Not long after joining the Porter Wagoner Show in Music City, Dolly planned a fundraising concert at SCHS to benefit the school’s band. 

Her love for her alma mater didn’t end after that. Via the Dollywood Foundation, Parton also annually awards five graduating SCHS seniors a $15,000 scholarship to help them achieve their dreams. Read more about the Dolly Parton Scholarship here.

LeConte Medical Center

Dolly has demonstrated her commitment to the community in numerous ways including her support for healthcare in Sevier County. As an honorary chairperson of the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, named after the beloved community doctor who delivered her, Dolly contributed to expanding the quality of healthcare services in Sevier County. The result of her dedication is evident at the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services and the Dolly Parton Birthing Unit, both at LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville

Significant Sites Just Outside of Dolly Parton’s Hometown

Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN
Photo Credit: Dollywood

Outside of Sevierville, visitors will find numerous sites significant to Dolly Parton. Dollywood Theme Park, Dollywood’s Splash Country Waterpark, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, and the new Dollywood’s Heartsong Lodge & Resort are just minutes away in Pigeon Forge. Just around the corner, find Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Show and Pirate’s Voyage Dinner & Show. These businesses provide thousands of jobs to individuals living in and near Sevier County, directly affecting the local economy.

Her rags-to-riches story is nothing short of inspirational. Parton was raised in a small one-bedroom cabin in the Caton’s Chapel community of Sevierville. With no electricity and water, the family was poor in worldly effects but rich in faith, love, and happiness. A replica of her childhood home is on display at her Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge. Also on display is a replica of the one-room schoolhouse that Dolly attended when she was young. 

Pigeon Forge has a wealth of Dolly and Dolly-inspired murals. Take the Pigeon Forge Mural Tour for an extra dose of Dolly. 

Speaking on behalf of Sevier County natives, we love our hometown hero and we credit her for many of the pleasures residents enjoy today. Are you planning a Smoky Mountain vacation? Make plans to see Sevierville from the eyes of Dolly Parton. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the latest from Dolly’s hometown!

Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton


No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *