State park shines light on history in new year

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, December 31, 2019

With the dawn of a new decade right around the corner, some people may find it prudent to look back for a while and learn more about the past that helped define them. The state park system has them covered.

Sycamore Shoals State Park plans to kick off the new year with a focus on the region’s storied history, starting with the Carter Mansion.

Ranger Jason Davis said First Footing represents the first tour of the mansion in the new year, and the event is something they have done for many years.

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“It is an 18th century tradition to bring good luck into the house,” Davis said.

The mansion will be decorated like the original residents would have done during the Old Christmas traditions.

“It is an opportunity for those who missed the Candlelight tours,” he said.

The mansion represents much of the East Tennessee region’s history, stemming all the way back to the Revolutionary War. He said this history is something the park tries to promote on a regular basis.

“We have got history in our area that laid the foundation for the development of our state,” Davis said. “It contributed to the formation of the country.”

He described this historical significance as “unique to this area,” and that no other region could celebrate what East Tennessee has.

Events like this are part of the park’s ongoing living history efforts, from the annual Siege at Fort Watauga reenactment every summer to the regular mansion tours.

Davis said the First Footing can also show how holidays like Christmas have more storied histories than people may think.

“It shows how our modern traditions originated,” he said. “To find out, they need to come and see.”

Other events around this time that tell similar stories, he said, are this Weekend’s Old Christmas celebration, which will showcase how these various different cultures came together to form America’s holiday traditions.

Those interested in learning about what the park has to offer can contact them at 423-543-5808 or by visiting in person at 1651 West Elk Ave.

“Folks will still be able to come to the park and learn about other traditions,” Davis said.

The park puts on many different tours throughout the year.