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Our favorite Smoky Mountain hometown hero was named one of USA Today’s “Women of the Century”! To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, USA Today made a list of 100 women who’ve made an impact on our lives throughout the past 100 years, and (unsurprisingly) Dolly Parton made the list. Dolly has had such a big impact on our lives and the beautiful Smoky Mountain area, and we’re glad she’s been recognized as one of the most prominent women over the last century! Learn more about her feature in USA Today:
Dolly Parton Woman of the Century
USA Today’s list of “Women of the Century” includes 100 women who have had a profound impact on our country and our lives. Dolly Parton made the list, as well as other women from Tennessee, including track and field runner Wilma Rudolph, human rights activist Renata Soto, and former University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt. Other women on the list include Gloria Estefan, Ida B. Wells and more. In an extensive interview with USA Today, Parton talked about her childhood in East Tennessee, how she got to where she is today, her career highlights and what changes she’d like to see in the world.
Growing up in East Tennessee
You probably already know that Dolly grew up in a small cabin in Sevierville, and in the interview with USA Today, she talked some about what it was like growing up in East Tennessee and expanded some on the famous story of her family paying a doctor with cornmeal. Parton explained there were no roads where people could come in and out, and no hospitals nearby. There was a missionary doctor who was sent to the Smokies to take care of the poor mountain people. He used to ride in on horseback, and since the mountain people didn’t have money to pay him with, they paid him with whatever they had, whether that be canned goods, ham or other food. For Dolly’s family, that meant cornmeal. She remembers a time when her mother was having problems with her, and her father had to go get the doctor and pay him with a sack of cornmeal. Part of what makes Dolly so lovable is how little she had growing up and how hard she had to work to get where she is today!
Dolly was raised in a small 2-room cabin with no electricity and no running water. It had a kitchen with a table that seats 6, a small pantry and stove, a washing basin between the kitchen and bedroom, and a two-thirds wall separating the kitchen from the bedroom. A replica of her childhood home stands at Dollywood today so visitors can get a feel for how the country music star grew up!
Dolly Parton worked hard to get where she is today. Not only is she labeled the “Queen of Country,” with 49 Grammy nominations and 9 wins, but she runs the Dollywood Company and her Imagination Library, which gifts books to children from birth until they begin school, regardless of their family’s income. In addition to her success with work, Dolly has gained the status of a “universally beloved figure” because of her genuine love for all people. In her interview with USA Today, Dolly joked, “The whole magic about me is that I look artificial, but I’m totally real. People can see that … I want them to know me. I’m not bashful.” She also said that part of the reason she thinks so many people love her is because she loves people, and they can sense that.
You can read Dolly’s full interview in USA Today here.
Our favorite star has had so much success over the years, from music, to movies, to a podcast to a YouTube series — the list just keeps growing! If you want to see some of Dolly’s success for yourself while you’re in the Smoky Mountains, just plan a visit to Dollywood! You can feel a little bit of Dolly’s magic everywhere you look in the world-class theme park, and you can step inside the replica of her childhood home.
Celebrate Dolly Parton in the Smoky Mountains!
Celebrate Dolly Parton being named one of USA Today’s “Women of the Century” with a visit to the area where she grew up! See the Dolly Parton statue in downtown Sevierville and explore the magic at Dollywood. Before you plan your visit, check out these interesting facts about Dolly you may not have known!