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Visitors love coming to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to explore and uncover secret spots, and we have another one for you to look for! The Pearl Harbor Tree sits in Cades Cove as a reminder of what happened on that day in 1941 and to honor those who died. It was planted the day of the attack and is still standing today. We’ve got everything you need to know about the history of the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove and where you can find it!
About the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove
Golman Myers lived in Cades Cove with his wife and sons. The Myers family lived in a house on the hill and tended to their own farm. According to his son, Bernard Myers, Golman always kept up with current events on a little battery-powered RCA radio. He knew that the war in Europe was bad, so when he heard President Roosevelt announce the attack on the radio, he knew the United States would be going to war. Golman had two older sons who were of draft age, and knowing this would affect his family motivated him to want to do something to mark the mournful moment. He ended up finding a sapling tree that was about the size of a limb at the time and transplanting it in the family’s front yard. An old rim of an automobile was placed around it to protect it. After he planted it, Golman made one statement: “We will remember this forever.”
Golman Myers died of a heart attack in 1945, and his family moved away from Cades Cove completely. Their old family farm grew into a popular tourist destination, and the small little gum tree continued to grow as well. The old rim that was placed around the tree split and grew right into the bark, and Golman’s son, Bernard, estimates the tree to be at least 60 feet tall now. In the mid-1970s, Bernard used a chain to attach a metal tag to the tree that reads, “Golman Myers transplanted this tree Dec. 7 1941.” Now, many visitors in Cades Cove stumble off trail in search of the tree to pay tribute to it! The tree is surrounded by American flags that have been brought and tucked into the chain.
Watch the video from WBIR below to see the Pearl Harbor Tree!
How to Get to the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove
While there are no marked trails to the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove, it’s not hard to find! The closest parking area is the pull-off about 3.6 miles along the Cades Cove Loop Road. From the parking area, you’ll walk west for .1 miles until you see a small clearing on the north side of the road. Where the treeline on the western edge of the field meets the road is the bottom of the hill you climb to get to the tree. Although surrounded by other trees now, you can tell the Pearl Harbor Tree apart from the rest because of its metal tag. People come to pay homage to the tree in their own special ways, and now you can too!
About Cades Cove
Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so while you’re in the area visiting the Pearl Harbor Tree, take time to travel along the 11-mile loop road! As you travel along the road, you’ll have the opportunity to see gorgeous views, wildlife, and more historic sites and structures. You can also choose to go for a hike on one of the popular trails in the area, like Abrams Falls!
To learn about more hidden gems in the Smoky Mountains like the Pearl Harbor Tree in Cades Cove, read our blog, “5 Hidden Gems to Uncover in the Smoky Mountain National Park.”