The bulk of the rehabilitation project is complete, but the final surface overlay still needs to be done — the tower will close for about two weeks in the springtime for this work to take place. So far, deteriorated areas on concrete columns and walls have been repaired, support walls have been stabilized at the ramp’s base and stone masonry has been repaired.
The work is funded through a Partners in Preservation grant that awarded $250,000 to Friends of the Smokies on the park’s behalf. A collaboration of American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Partners in Preservation gave grants to the top nine parks in an online voting contest for the funds.
Straddling the North Carolina-Tennessee line at 6,643 feet, the tower is a prominent landmark and the park’s highest point. Since its construction in 1959, millions of visitors have climbed the tower, which offers views stretching as far as 100 miles over the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Though Clingmans Dome Road is closed to motorized traffic during the winter, hikers can use the road, tower and entire Clingmans Dome area year-round.