DOLLY PARTON'S DOWNTOWN SEVIERVILLE, TENNESSEE
6+ landmarks in the legend’s hometown
Dolly Parton is proud of her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee—and the feeling is mutual. Dolly got her start in Sevierville and her lingering presence is celebrated every day throughout the historic downtown. Whether you’re an avid fan of the superstar, a curiosity-seeker, are looking for inspiration for your big break, or simply want to get better acquainted with this friendly, picturesque Smoky Mountain community, be sure to check out these sites.
The Dolly Parton Statue on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn stands as a tribute to the superstar by her hometown community and has become Sevierville’s most iconic spot, visited by thousands of people each year. Unveiled more than 30 years ago, the bronze sculpture shows Dolly holding her guitar and was crafted by nationally-known local artist Jim Gray. Dolly ranks the work as one of her most-prized recognitions and has said, “One of the best things that ever happened to me in my whole career is the statue of me in the courthouse yard in Sevierville.” It’s a featured location on Tennessee Music Pathways trail and is located at 125 Court Ave.
“Wings of Wander,” a mural by Sevierville graphic artist Pinkie Mistry, features a monarch butterfly. It nods to Dolly Parton’s hit song “Love is Like a Butterfly,” and serves as a colorful addition to downtown. Find it on Bruce Street just a short stroll down from the courthouse near the white gazebo. “This was such a great project,” the artist has said. “I was honored to have been chosen to do this for my hometown.”
“Red’s Café” is a nostalgic mural of a former Sevierville eatery that was a favorite of young Dolly Parton. The artwork features a young blonde child enjoying a burger at the counter. It’s on Bruce Street painted on a wall adjacent to The Appalachian patio. The mural was completed by Seth Bishop and Ben Harrison of Smoky Mountain Mural Company. Sevier County Historian Carroll McMahan says, “The building that was once Red’s Café itself still stands two doors down from the courthouse and is now a law office.”
Jolene’s is a whimsical boutique shop that caters to lovers of bling, butterflies, and Dolly Parton. If you admire hometown gal Dolly’s rhinestone-studded style, this boutique is your best bet to find items inspired by it (though it is not sanctioned by Dolly herself). The owner, who’s been a Dolly fan since she was two years old, curates a collection of Dolly-esque goods and handmade local items from clothing to stickers, earrings to handbags, magnets to candles, and other treasures. The shop is on Bruce Street across from the courthouse.
The Pines, at 108 Joy Street, is among the 20 stops featured on Sevierville’s self-guided historic walking tour. The circa 1928 building first housed a motor company, but opened in 1944 as a state-of-the-art theatre seating over 700 people. It served as Sevierville’s first movie theatre and also staged live performances on Friday nights with performers including Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff, and the Carter Family. The Pines Theatre was where Dolly Parton first played to a paying audience when she was just 10 years old. (A replica of Pines Theatre, “Jukebox Junction,” is in the 1950s section of Dollywood.) “Dolly’s father brought her and convinced someone to let her come up and sing a song,” says McMahan. “It was so well received that she was invited back the next week and paid. That launched her career.” (She also made weekly appearances at Cas Walker’s Grocery Store, which still stands and now houses a portion of First Baptist Church on the Parkway in Sevierville.) When The Pines Theatre closed in 1957 the building was used by a variety of businesses, but it’s currently being converted into an entertainment venue that will offer bowling, arcade games, and more. McMahan says, “The plan is that it will have a Pines marquis out front and a mural on one side depicting some of the Country Western singers who once performed there, including Dolly.”
Old Kilpatrick’s Drug Store , which was headed by the same family that now runs The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store, was a pharmacy with a food counter. “Dolly frequented the place,” says McMahan. “She loved the hot dogs and went there often during her high school years.” The building still stands and is located next to the Sevier County Heritage Museum on Bruce Street; it’s currently being renovated and will soon open as a casual eatery.
Emery’s 5 & 10, established in 1927, was a favorite of Dolly’s. McMahan says, “Dolly has famously said, ‘It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!’ When she had any money at all she’d go to Emery’s 5&10 and buy makeup—it’s a place she’s mentioned often.” The original building on Court Avenue still stands, though it is currently vacant. (Emery’s 5 & 10 now operates at The Island in neighboring Pigeon Forge.)
Looking for more Dolly Parton connections? Drive along the Dolly Parton Parkway (aka US 411). Then head to Hillside Winery on Collier Drive in Sevierville to see the companion “Wings of Wander” butterfly mural by Pinkie Mistry.
When the stories start with, "I had the best time ever...," you know you've visited Sevierville, Tennessee.
FREE PRINTED VACATION PLANNER
Select this option to request the Sevierville Vacation Planner by mail.
FREE DIGITAL VACATION PLANNER
Select this option to view or download the Sevierville Vacation Planner instantly.