Feeling Great in Kodak!
Kodak is an unincorporated community in Sevier County, Tennessee located just off Interstate 40 at exit 407 and State Highways 66 and 139. Kodak’s elevation rises to a height of 896 feet above sea level. The bucolic countryside found in this area is always an inspiration for those who long for the country life with access to Douglas Lake and the French Broad River.
Kodak is the proud home of the Tennessee Smokies baseball club, Double-A Affiliate for the Chicago Cubs. Smokies Park is just moments from I-40. When the Tennessee Smokies aren’t knocking them out of the ballpark, the state-of-the-art stadium plays hosts to great concerts, an annual drive-through Christmas light show, and other special events throughout the year.
Just across the street from Smokies Park is the ever popular Bass Pro Shop. If your passion is fishing, hunting, boating, birding, hiking or backpacking you can probably find it there. Along with the other great retail shops close by, visit Eagle Springs Winery and KaTom, a commercial restaurant supplier open to the public. You’ll find plenty of lodging available with brands like Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and Days Inn.
Kodak’s Interesting History
You may be saying to yourself that Kodak sure sounds familiar. You may have even thought that you have only heard that name used to refer to one other thing, the famous Eastman Kodak film and camera business which was a staple in the world of photography for decades. How is it that this area came by such an unusual name?
In 1892 the local postmaster, Harvey Underwood, learned of this newfangled Kodak brand of camera. Being a clever fellow, Underwood decided that this was a name that was easy to remember and perhaps more importantly, easy to spell. Mr. Underwood wrote to the founder of the Eastman Kodak company George Eastman. Mr. Underwood asked permission to use the word Kodak to name his village and the post office he managed. Tickled by the inquiry Mr. Eastman granted permission to use the name and the rest is history. While the photographic process that bears the namesake of Mr. Eastman has changed dramatically in recent years with the advent of digital photography this township will forever bear his name which is synonymous with his entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity.
The Kodak area is steeped in the cultural history of the region. The native, proud Cherokee once claimed this fertile land as part their nation. In later times French, Spanish, and English settlers displaced the Cherokee and began battling over the rights to this land for several centuries. Even our own civil war descended on the peaceful region of Kodak.
During the War Between the States many colorful place names were given to the area. One prominent name is “Dumplin Valley.” This valley was so named when Union troops were camped on their long march to the battle of Chattanooga. It was during this time of scarce food when a small group of soldiers paused beside a mountain stream to prepare a simple meal of dumplings and broth. As the meal cooked, one very excited and clumsy soldier accidentally knocked the pot of boiling dumplings into the stream. The frustrated and starving cook was heard to exclaim, “There go my dumplins down the creek!” Since that event the creek and the valley through which it flows have carried the “dumplin” name. Fortunately, today there are many choices for dining, so chasing your dumplings down the creek won’t be necessary.