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Dollywood Facebook Page

12 Fun Facts About Dollywood

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Dollywood Facebook Page

I spent last weekend running around Dollywood, the amusement park created by country singer Dolly Parton. In addition to having a ton of fun, I learned a ton when I was there—not just about Parton, but about the area, too. Here's a sampling.

1. Dollywood is in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which was named for an iron forge owned by Isaac Love in the 1820s. The forge, in turn, was named for the Little Pigeon River, which got its name from the flocks of passenger pigeons that used to live in the area (the birds are now extinct).

2. The park wasn't always Dollywood. It originally opened in 1961 as a small tourist attraction called Rebel Railroad. In 1970, it was purchased by Art Modell—then owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns—and renamed Goldrush Junction. Herschend Enterprises bought the park in 1976, and renamed it Silver Dollar City. Ten years later, when Parton came on board, the park was dubbed Dollywood. (You can see the first visitor's guide at the Dollywood Facebook page.) "I always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something great, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area," she said when Dollywood celebrated its 25th operating season in 2010. The park is the #1 employer in Sevier County

3. The park is located on 150 acres near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and is themed around the history of the Smokys, life there, and preservation of the mountains. There's even a "multi-sensory musical experience" dedicated to the area, called Heartsong.

4. On some of the days soon after its May 1986 opening, traffic to get into Dollywood stretched for six miles down U.S. 441. The park had its one millionth visitor just five months after opening; during the first season, it had 1.34 million visitors. (These days, Dollywood has 2.5 million visitors annually.)

5. Dolly grew up in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of 12 siblings. "We had two rooms, a path, and running water, if you were willing to run to get it," she once said. There's a replica of the two-room cabin at Dollywood, filled with many authentic items from her old home. The cabin was built by Parton's brother, and her mother helped recreate the interior. The original cabin still stands.

6. There's a museum called Chasing Rainbows, devoted to Dolly's life, in the park; it features replicas of the room where she went to school, items from her childhood, costumes from her movies and performances, the numerous awards she's won, and walls upon walls of photos of the entertainer with actors, musicians, and presidents—many of them signed. (Former Home Improvement star Jonathan Taylor Thomas wrote on his photo with Dolly, "It was an honor meeting you. You are so very special! Love, Jonathan.")

7. In 1973, a chapel was built in the park and named for Sevier County doctor Robert F. Thomas—the very same doctor who delivered Dolly. (Parton's father, a tobacco farmer, paid Thomas with a bag of oatmeal.)

8. Dollywood has a total of 27 rides. Seven of them are rollercoasters and four of them are water rides. Unfortunately, Dolly can't go on many of them—she suffers from motion sickness! "My daddy used to say, 'I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,'" Parton once said. "I am the same way. I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus."

9. You can't bring your pups into Dollywood (unless they're service animals), but you can leave them at Doggywood

10. Dollywood hosts a number of festivals, including one devoted to BBQ and bluegrass, Great American Summer, National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, the Festival of Nations, and Smoky Mountain Christmas. During last year's Smoky Mountain Christmas, the park put on Dollywood's A Christmas Carol, which featured a hologram of Parton as the Ghost of Christmas Past. “When they told me they were going to make a hologram out of me, I thought they were crazy,” Parton said. “But when I saw how real it looked on stage, I couldn’t believe it. I’m not sure this world can handle two Dolly Partons, but I’m excited folks will be able to see ‘the other Dolly’ reminding families that it’s not what you have but who you have, just like ole Scrooge figures out in the end.”

11. Though it was built fairly recently (in the early 1980s), the park's grist mill operates just as one would have in the 1880s—and it was constructed that way, too. According to the Dollywood website, "The roof shingles were split by hand, and all the door hardware was created onsite by the park’s blacksmiths. The structure’s round logs were hewed by hand in front of the building site with holes drilled in the logs by hand using different size augers. The architectural shingles on the side of the building and all lumber were milled at the park’s sawmill ... The window panes were made by the park’s glassblowers, and each window frame was made onsite using steam engine power to operate the five-in-one machine which is now located in the Valley Carriage Works wagon shop." Construction took six months; these days, the mill grinds corn and wheat into flour every day.

12. Dollywood has a number of bald eagles—deemed "non-releasable" because they wouldn't be able to survive in the wild on their own—and a few other birds, including an owl and a raven that has toys in its enclosure. (They're smart!).

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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