Visitors who stroll through the streets of Sevierville may recognize Dolly Parton’s legacy in the Tennessee town. The singer was born in Sevier County in 1946. Guests and locals alike can hear Parton’s music on the radio or see advertisements for the dinner attraction Dolly Parton’s Stampede. But one of the most iconic homages is a bronze statue in front of the Sevier County Courthouse.
Sculptor Jim Gray portrays Parton as a young woman. Like The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, a barefoot Parton sits atop a rock. But Gray’s statue captures Parton’s unique personality, as she holds a guitar and greets onlookers with a smile.
Why did Sevier County build a statue for Parton in 1987? As Parton earned more notoriety, she gave back to Sevierville. The music superstar expanded Sevier County’s economic security by creating tourist sites like the amusement park Dollywood. She also advocated for nature conservation in the Smoky Mountains. Her dedication to Tennessee has earned Parton the nickname “The Queen of Appalachia.”