Tennessee is a very long state and US Interstate 40 runs the entire length from the western border with Arkansas to the eastern end that borders North Carolina. In fact, the distance from one end of the state to the other as travelled via I-40 is 440 miles. The two geographic extremes of the state are even farther apart by other measures. Sadly, Memphis, Tennessee has recently been named one of the 10 worst places to live in the entire United States. No offense Memphians, but the area’s rampant crime and widespread government corruption are the reasons cited for this dubious distinction. Add to this the generally high taxes, a flat and uninspiring topography, and poor economic prospects and you have a very negative picture indeed. Nothing could be less like our eastern end of Tennessee here in the Smoky Mountains. The plateau of middle Tennessee is a little of both and is in the middle in more than one way but for this post we will concentrate on the two extremes.
In Sevier County (the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area), we have one of the nation’s lowest tax burdens with property taxes being amazingly affordable. Although property evaluations can vary, a typical $100,000 Gatlinburg area home will have around $400 TOTAL ANNUAL PROPERTY TAXES. If the real estate is within the city limits of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Sevierville you might add another $50 annually for the city property tax burden. Furthermore, our beautiful Smoky Mountains add greatly to the scenic nature of our community lifting the spirits of residents and guests alike.
There are sharp differences in the politics of the two as well. Generally, western Tennessee has been a political stronghold for democrats while the eastern portion of the state is much more conservative. This I believe goes all the way back to the fact that during the civil war the western part of the state sided with the confederacy while the eastern portion was more sympathetic to the union. Although officially neutral during the civil war, Tennessee’s various divisions were of very different opinions. All of that flat west Tennessee land made for great plantations while the land up on old Rocky Top (the song was written in Gatlinburg) was anything but flat and didn’t make for easy large scale farming. The fierce independence of the earliest settlers of eastern Tennessee carries on to a great deal even today.
With a low crime rate and manageable local government expenses, Sevier County is one of the BEST places to live in the United States or for that matter the world. Historically, our state has been described as the three states of Tennessee. Don’t confuse the flat western part of Tennessee with the glorious mountainous eastern part of the state. By the way, the current temperature in Memphis today is 95 while in Gatlinburg we are at only 85 degrees (still too hot for my tastes and exceptionally warm for this time of year!!). No guarantees but that temperature differential is pretty typical too. If you are looking for a great community that features low crime, spectacular scenery, and very low taxes, you might want to consider Gatlinburg as a wonderful place to live. If you live in Memphis, please don’t get upset, just come join us on the happier end of the state!!