Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation


Leifeste, Amalia T

Committee Member

King, Kristopher

Committee Member

Kohr, Andrew


Officially established in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park originated as part of a widespread cultural trend towards outdoor recreation, national tourism, and the federal government's assumption of responsibility for land conservation. However, the area of Tennessee and North Carolina selected by the federal government for the national park was not a purely unsettled landscape. Not only did the land serve as home to approximately ten permanent agricultural communities, but it also featured several hotels and lodges inspired by the burgeoning twentieth-century tourism industry. Beginning as a rudimentary hiking cabin constructed in 1925 and evolving throughout the 1930s, the LeConte Lodge is now the only structure that pre-dates the creation of the park to remain in its originally intended use. Therefore, the lodge can serve as a lens through which to explore the broader preservation practices of the National Park Service. This thesis intends to address the question through a two-part research strategy. The thesis creates a narrative of the Lodge over time, focusing on a structural and managerial history of the property. Through written and photographic documentation of each structure in the resort, the thesis analyzes the LeConte Lodge's contemporary state. The documentation process focuses on structural details, existing conditions, and each building's usage. With information gleaned from the Lodge's historic development and contemporary conditions, the thesis aims to generate insight on the preservation practices of the National Park Service within the Smokies.