Follow Us On Facebook  



Special Events



Park Info


Web Links

License Plate


Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park  

Gadsden Flag
Frequently Asked Questions 


What is the Gadsden Flag?

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag dating back to the American Revolution.  The flag is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805), who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution.

In 1775, the United States Navy was established by General George Washington in his role as Commander-in-Chief of all Continental Forces.  The Navy began with seven ships, often called "Washington Cruiser".

Those first ships were used to intercept incoming British ships carrying war supplies to the British troops in the colonies to both deprive the supplies to the British and to supply the Continental Army. 

Before the first departure of the first mission in December 1775, the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Commodore Hopkins, received the yellow rattlesnake flag from Gadsden to serve as the distinctive personal standard for his flagship.  It was displayed at the mainmast.

If not the first, it was one of the first Marine Corps flags.  In recent times, the Gadsden flag was flown over our bases in Iraq and Afganistan.  The Gadsden flag is a symbol of our American heritage.

Why the Gadsden Flag?

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is all about the American Revolution and that time in our country's history.  As can be seen on other pages of our website, Sycamore Shoals was the location of some significant events during the early days of the founding of this country.

In looking for a design for the license plate, it was felt the plate should contain something of historical significance.  The design needed to be something that would have appeal across the entire state and not just the northeast TN area.

The decision was to use the Gadsden flag because of its historical significance to the American Revolution.

Why a license plate?

Friend of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park (FSSSHP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to support the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park (SSSHP).  SSSHP is somewhat unique within the TN Parks system in that this is an educational park.  The park is a living history of the events of the 18th century in northeast TN.  Access to the park is free.

As a state park, a lot of its operations are dependent on state operating budgets.  Unfortunately, the state's budgets are somewhat limited when it comes to funding the state parks.  That is where the FSSSHP steps in.  We have various fundraisers throught the year.  All funds raised by FSSSHP are use to help support the operation and maintenance of SSSHP, helping to preserve the special history this area has with regards to the founding of this country.

In looking for other ways to raise money to support the park, the idea of a specialty plate came up.  The specialty license plate program that TN has will provide funds to the FSSSHP for years to come.  Those funds can then be used to opearate and maintain the park in ways that TN Parks system cannot.

The specialty license plate is a win-win for everyone.  The funds FSSSHP gets from the program will greatly enhance the park and allow it to offer additional historical educational services.  And the people with the specialty plates will be showing their patriotism associated with the founding of this country.

For more information, contact:
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park
1651 West Elk Avenue
Elizabethton, Tennessee
(423) 543-5808