ARTIST: Fabricated by Ted Drake, Designed by Ed Kelley
INSTALLATION YEAR: 2012
LOCATION: 185 N. Main Street
This replica of an arch that once spanned Main Street pays homage to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The arch was part of Waynesville’s fabric from the mid-1930s until 1970, soaring above the bustling downtown.
Waynesville leaders who championed the creation of the national park in the 1930s were quick to lay claim as the gateway town. An arrow originally hung from the arch pointing the way to the “Eastern Entrance” of the park — albeit some 30 miles over yonder. The scaled-down replica stirs nostalgia among locals and reminds visitors of the immense wilderness in Waynesville’s backyard.
The lettering on the arch gives the illusion of a stencil cut-out from a distance but is actually fabricated to the surface so it can be read from both sides. The arch is one of three public art pieces commissioned for this corner mini-park to honor the 75th anniversary of the Smokies’ founding.