Historic Markers Across Tennessee

New Gap, New Road ~ Morton Overlook

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: is on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) ¾ mile north of Clingmans Dome Road, Gatlinburg, TN
County: Sevier
Coordinates: N 35° 36.788    W 083° 25.424
  35.61313333    -83.42373333
Waymark: None


New Gap, New Road
Morton Overlook
— Great Smoky Mountains National Park —

I do not . . . favor the scarring of a wonderful mountainside just so we can say we have a skyline drive. It sounds poetical, but it may be an atrocity.
Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, 1935

It’s not easy to travel through the mountains. Even driving the Newfound Gap Road is a challenge. That’s probably how many mountain people felt – blessed – when they began using the “new-found gap” in the latter half of the 19th century, and the name stuck.

The move to establish Great Smoky Mountains National Park was led more by economic boosters than conservationists. Auto clubs, who wanted good roads through beautiful scenery, pushed hard for the park. In the late 1920s Tennessee and North Carolina began a road-building race to reach Newfound Gap to open up the developing park to tourism. The road was completed in 1932. That April the first visitors drove on it over Newfound Gap.

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Ben Morton
Early park supporters believed building park roads would bring economic prosperity to the region. Ben Morton, for whom this overlook is named, was such a believer. As Knoxville’s mayor and a member of the Knoxville Auto Club, he and others did much to boost the building of the Newfound Gap Road, which today is one of the most pleasurable and scenic roads in the National Park System.

Erected by National Park Service