Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

Pearl Harbor Tree

The Pearl Harbor Tree is located in the popular area of Cades Cove, but many people have never heard of this hidden gem! The Pearl Harbor Tree is a reminder of what happened that day in 1941 and honors those who died.

Golman Myers lived in Cades Cove with his wife and sons. The Myers family lived in a house on the hill and tended to their own farm. According to his youngest son, Bernard Myers, Golman always kept up with current events on a little battery-powered RCA radio. He knew that the war in Europe was bad. The Myers were sitting around their radio when President Franklin D. Roosevelt interrupted the program they were listening to by announcing Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japan. Myers knew in that moment the United States was going to go to war with the rest of the world.

With the looming threat of war and his oldest sons old enough to be drafted into the war, Myers wanted a way to memorialize the soldiers who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack. He went out behind his house and found a small sweet gum tree sapling, no bigger than a limb. Myers pulled up the tree from where it was growing and transplanted it out in front of his home. He then placed an old automobile rim around the sapling and said, “We will remember this forever.”

Pearl Harbor Tree

Golman Myers died of a heart attack in 1945, and his family moved away from Cades Cove completely. Their old family farm grew into a popular tourist destination, and the small little gum tree continued to grow as well. The old rim that was placed around the tree split and grew right into the bark, and Golman’s son, Bernard, estimates the tree to be at least 60 feet tall now. In the mid 1970s Bernard had a metal sign engraved with, “Golman Myers transplanted this tree December 7, 1941” on one side and “Pearl Harbor” on the other side. He wanted to commemorate the moment and help everyone who finds the Pearl Harbor tree in Cades Cove what it stands for. He attached the metal sign with a chain around the tree. Bernard said he just did it for his grandchildren so they could remember what their great grandfather did.

You can often see American flags surrounding the gum tree that visitors have brought to honor it. To get to the tree, park in the pull-off about 3.6 miles along the Cades Cove Loop Road. This pull off has about 20 parking spots and is 0.5 of a mile away from the Missionary Baptist Church. 

From the parking area, you’ll walk west for .1 miles until you see a small clearing on the north side of the road. Climb the hill to get to the Pearl Harbor Tree where the tree line on the western edge of the field meets the road. Where the tree line on the western edge of the field meets the road is the hill you will climb to get to the tree. Although surrounded by other trees now, you can tell the Pearl Harbor Tree apart from the rest because of its metal tag. 

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