Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

Publication Date

Spring 2020


This article examines the economic and symbolic dimensions of redevelopment in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I focus on one particular project, the East Parkway at Baskins Creek Bypass District, which concerned ten acres that contained a vital housing resource for low-income tourism-industry workers: residential motels. I connect Gatlinburg’s housing crisis with changing labor patterns in the wake of economic restructuring. I present two letters submitted by real estate developers and solicited by the City of Gatlinburg. In analyzing the letters, I identify two tensions: (1) between workers’ homes and the aesthetics of “Appalachian” tourism, and (2) between representations of workers and the diverse realities of workers’ lives. I conclude by arguing that solutions addressing housing alone—without also considering tourism-industry labor patterns, including fluctuating wages— will ultimately fall short of accomplishing affordable housing for Gatlinburg’s residential workforce.


Published as "The Making and Unmaking of an Appalachian 'Home': Tensions between Tourism and Housing Development in Gatlinburg, Tennessee." Journal of Appalachian Studies 26 (1). © 2020 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Journal of Appalachian Studies


Copyright © 2020 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois