Among the natural wonders and Southern charm of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you’ll discover a historic gem that is also a great place to sit and relax for a minute while you’re exploring Gatlinburg – the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Centennial Plaza. Unveiled in 2012, this peaceful plaza honors the legacy of the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School, founded in the early 1900s, and reminds visitors of one of the lesser known but important parts of the history this mountain town.
The Legacy of Pi Beta Phi
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women founded a settlement school in Gatlinburg to bring much-needed education and training to the children and women of the Appalachian region. Despite the challenging terrain and isolation of the area, these women’s tireless efforts ensured that education thrived. The school, established in 1912, served the community until 1965, transitioning into the Pi Beta Phi Elementary School, which continues to educate local children today.
The Centennial Plaza: A Heartfelt Tribute in the Heart of Town
Located right in the heart of Gatlinburg, adjacent to the bustling Anakeesta ticket office and mountain lift, the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Centennial Plaza is a historic haven amid the town’s vibrant energy. The plaza showcases an artistic centerpiece featuring the fraternity’s crest and mission, surrounded by commemorative pavers dedicated to significant contributors to Pi Beta Phi throughout the years.
The location is also home to several captivating sculptures, including a giant daisy flower and chair made from grass, adding a whimsical touch to this historical site. And it isn’t just a place for history enthusiasts; with tables and chairs dotted around, it’s an ideal spot for visitors to sit, relax, and soak in the surroundings.
The Centennial Plaza, nestled among Gatlinburg’s charming streets, shops, and the stunning backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, is a prime location for history lovers, educators, and those fascinated by women’s empowerment. The proximity to other attractions like the Anakeesta mountain lift and the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, an institution evolved from the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School, makes it a pivotal point in the historic and cultural tour of Gatlinburg. If you’re in the mood for shopping, it’s also right across the street from the Mountain Mall (probably different from any mall you’ve been to before).
The Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Centennial Plaza is more than just a historical landmark; it’s a tribute to the empowerment, education, and dedication that has shaped Gatlinburg. As you navigate this charming mountain town, make sure to take a restful pause in this Plaza, immerse yourself in its historical richness, and feel inspired by the enduring legacy of the women of Pi Beta Phi.
In the heart of Gatlinburg, right next to the ticket office of the exciting Anakeesta mountain lift, you’ll find a relaxing spot adorned with interesting sculptures, where you can sit and reflect on the transformational power of education and service. A visit to the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Centennial Plaza is not just a reminder of history; it’s an experience that enriches your Gatlinburg adventure.