GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Community leaders, Anakeesta’s founders and guests celebrated the grand opening of a new tower taking guests to new heights.
The AnaVista Tower, located atop Anakeesta, stands at 1,947 feet above sea level–making it the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg. The one of its kind tower offers visitors a panoramic view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Tower inspired by a flower opening to heavens
Bob Bentz, managing partner for Anakeesta, along with his wife Karen Bentz imagined up the idea for the tower. Bentz, who has a background in architecture, designed the sculpture. Bentz says he modeled it after a flower. The tall, wooden beams protruding from the top “opens up to the heavens” reflecting the shape “of the petals of a flower.” The bottom of the tower opens out resembling the base of a tree. The natural elements of the unique structure reflect the gardens and nature that surrounds it.
“We wanted it to be as cool today as it is 50 years from now we wanted it to be an iconic and artistic element on top of Anakeesta,” Bentz said.
Another unique feature of the tower is the top that is modeled after a compass, with the beams marked by coordinates–guiding guests’ eyes to landmarks and popular mountain peaks.
The AnaVista tower is only a part of the $6.5 million expansion at Anakeesta. Other plans include expanding the shopping plaza and a new brewery/restaurant that overlooks the mountains.
Gatlinburg celebrates 75th Anniversary
The expansion comes as Gatlinburg celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
“A time to look back and appreciate the beginnings of our city that’s grown from a dirt road into the United State’s most visited mountain town,” said Gatlinburg mayor Mike Werner.
The new tower adds to the magical experience in the mountains that Anakeesta provides.
“It’s a place to experience life as we love it. It just fills your soul it’s just an incredible place to be,” said Karen Bentz.
The observatory tower is open to the public. Social distancing should be observed at Anakeesta and atop of the AnaVista Tower. Employees are required to wear masks while guests are encouraged.
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