Dolly Parton was born in 1946 as a poor child in rural Tennessee. She learned to sing and play instruments in church and later went on to perform on radio and television programs, including her stint on The Porter Wagoner Show.
Parton moved to Nashville after graduating high school, where she started her songwriting career. She had a string of successful duets after being signed to a recording contract but eventually found her own success as a solo artist.
Over the course of her career, Parton was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, has won nine Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, three American Music Awards, and seven Academy of Country Music awards. She is a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry.
For her work in Hollywood, she’s been nominated for two Academy Awards, a Tony award, and an Emmy award for her roles in films like Steel Magnolias, 9 to 5, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received the Kennedy Center Honors. She even had a cloned sheep named for her!
In addition to her success as a singer and songwriter, she is a savvy businesswoman. Since she retains the publishing rights to her songs, she has done well with royalties, even denying Elvis Presley half of the rights when he wanted to record one of her songs.
Dolly Parton Landmarks in Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains
Dolly Parton was born in an unincorporated community in Sevier County and has remained in the area for much of her life. She attended Sevier County High School, which is now on her namesake Dolly Parton Parkway.
In downtown Sevierville, a statue sits in front of the courthouse in her honor, pictured above. Of course, she also owns a theme park empire, including Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country, the DreamMore Resort, and the Stampede dinner theater.
At Dollywood, visitors can see a replica of her “Tennessee Mountain Home” where she grew up as well as artifacts from her career at the Chasing Rainbows Museum, including her former tour bus and famous costumes.
She still supports the people of this region, especially during the 2016 wildfires that ravaged parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
While most people think about Nashville as the capital of country music, Knoxville is the cradle of the music industry, providing a launching pad for countless artists.
Parton was among them, performing on a local radio station. She is honored in the city’s Cradle of Country Music Self Guided Walking Tour.
There’s also a mural devoted to Dolly on Strong Alley near Market Square, which is a popular spot for photos. You can also purchase “Dolly for President” shirts and other goodies from Rala, a boutique in the Old City.
Dolly Parton, of course, cut her teeth in the Country Music Capital of the World, Nashville. She has left her mark all over the city, including a hotel.
She’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. You can see her mailbox where she accepts fan mail on the behind-the-scenes tour and a plaque in her honor at the hall of fame.
From 1980 to 1996, she lived in a grey house in the Brentwood area of Nashville, even adding a recording studio. She still lives in this neighborhood, but on a larger property.
There’s also a mural in her honor at The Five Spot in Five Points and on the fence at the House of Blues in Berry Hill. She’s also included at the mural at Legend’s Corner and in a Smoky Mountain Music mural in Maryville.
Other Dolly Parton Landmarks
In 1966, Parton married Carl Dean at a quiet ceremony in a Baptist church in the Northwest Georgia town of Ringgold. It’s just over the state line from Chattanooga and is home to a winery and a Civil War battlefield.
Los Angeles, California
Dolly Parton also has a house in Los Angeles. She currently lives in a mansion in the Brentwood area, but her West Hollywood bungalow went up for sale in 2014. It featured her signature touches like frilly pink fabrics and guitars. You can even see her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Looking for a place to stay during your Dolly Parton pilgrimage? In Nashville, check out the Dolly-themed Graduate Nashville and its White Limozeen rooftop bar. In the Smokies, stay at Dollywood DreamMore Resort (review here). For rentals, enjoy a Dolly-centric Gatlinburg condo or glamp in a Dolly-inspired trailer in Maryville.
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