GATLINBURG (WATE) – Friends of the Smokies announced Wednesday the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has won a $250,000 grand provided by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help restore the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower.
The Smokies was one of the top nine most voted for parks in the Partners in Preservation: National Parks campaign. The park is set to receive the grant in September and work is expected to begin next year.
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the national park and in the state of Tennessee at 6,643 feet. The tower has been a destination for visitors since 1959. Visitors are able to see 100 miles of the park’s scenery. Over 600,000 people drive on Clingmans Dome Road between April and November, according to GSMNP.
However, work is needed at the location. Four inches of the foundation needs to be fixed to prevent future settlement and structural repair. Also, the stone masonry walls, concrete structure, and flagstone terrace are deteriorating. It is still structurally safe for visitors, but without needed repairs will only continue to deteriorate over time.