- [S76] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume III, 1974-1986, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 15 Jun 1981.
Margaret McCloud Stupka obituary
- [S4] Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee).
Smokies' natural history relocated to new home
By Morgan Simmons (Contact)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
GATLINBURG - There were stacks of wooden trays on the table containing hundreds of "sawflies," a little-known group of wasp-like insects that feed on trees and shrubs.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to an estimated 70,000 different species of insects, not to mention 65 mammal species, and more species of plants than any other area in North America.
No wonder park biologists and researchers around the world are happy about their new museum.
Housed in new Twin Creeks Science and Education Center, which officially opened last month, the museum provides storage space for the park's extensive natural history collection, everything from plants and animals to rocks and minerals.
Located near the Gatlinburg park boundary, the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center is the new headquarters for the park's resource management staff.
At 15,000 square feet, the facility also provides lab and office space for the hundreds of visiting scientists who come to the Smokies each year to work with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, an initiative to collect and catalogue every species of living organism in the park's 521,000 acres.
Before Twin Creeks Science and Education Center was built, the park's natural history collection was crammed into a 700-square-foot room below the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
Adriean Mayor, museum curator for the Smokies, said the new facility at Twin Creeks more than doubles his work space.
"It's like day and night," Mayor said.
There's a state-of-the-art preparation room where specimens are identified and prepared for storage. Next door is the 30-by-50-foot collection room, where the thermostat is set on 67 degrees, and the humidity is carefully controlled.
The park's natural history collection includes approximately 20,000 insects and more than 15,000 plants.
There's a 21<0x2044>2-foot hellbender taken in 1946 from the Little Pigeon River that ranks as the largest hellbender ever collected, as well as a mounted passenger pigeon collected near Nashville in 1856 before the species was driven to extinction.
The plants are pressed onto sheets, which go into folders that in turn are stored in metal herbarium cabinets.
The insect and mammal specimens are stored in similar museum cabinets, which are coated with white enamel and make the room look like a Laundromat.
Much of the Smokies' natural history collection can be traced to Arthur Stupka, who became the park's first naturalist in 1935.
A meticulous collector and cataloguer, Stupka's name is linked to scores of specimens, including an extremely rare plant called spreading avens (Geum radiatum) that he collected in 1945 on the cliffs atop Mount LeConte.
Mayor said Stupka had a gift for engaging the help of outside experts, people such as A.J. Sharp and H.M. Jennison, both botany professors at the University of Tennessee at the time.
"If it wasn't for Art Stupka, we wouldn't have a museum like this," Mayor said.
The new lab and storage space will enable the park to process the flow of material generated by the ATBI.
To date, scientists and volunteers working with the ATBI have discovered 858 species in the Smokies that are new to science - that is, unknown to have existed anywhere on Earth - as well as 5,116 species that were previously unknown to exist in the park.
Park managers will use the data to compile natural history information for each species, including its relative abundance, its response to various climate conditions, and its role in the greater ecosystem.
The new museum will house an extensive collection of salamanders. With an estimated 40 species, the Smokies is considered the salamander capital of the world.
Mayor said that the additional space will enable him to expand his fish collection.
"This is probably the premier national park facility for storing natural materials," Mayor said. "It will be put to good use."
Morgan Simmons may be reached at 865-342-6321.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 13 Feb 2012.
Upland Chronicles: Arthur Stupka left a strong legacy in the Smokies
Naturalist Arthur Stupka talking to a crowd in the new Sugarland’s Visitors Center. Photo courtesy national park
Naturalist Arthur Stupka leads a guided hike. Photo courtesy national park
Arthur Stupka and his wife, Margaret, in 1958. Courtesy Maryann Stupka
By CARROLL McMAHAN
“Vegetation is to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park what granite domes are to Yosemite, geysers are to Yellowstone and sculptured pinnacles are to Bryce Canyon National Park,” exclaimed Arthur Stupka when asked to remark on the lure of the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage held in Gatlinburg each year.
As the park’s first appointed naturalist, Stupka’s literary output on flora and fauna of the national park included books devoted to birds, amphibians and woody plants such as trees, shrubs and vines.
Arthur John Stupka grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was born on Oct. 24, 1905. A son of Czechoslovakian-immigrant parents, he didn’t learn to speak English until he started to school. Realizing his parents could not afford to send him to college, he began working in a vineyard after graduating from high school.
Somehow noticing Stupka displayed a perceptive interest in plant cultivation, a lady whose car was disabled in front of the vineyard asked him if he was aware of an upcoming horticulture seminar given by Dr. Alfred C. Hottes. Stupka attended the seminar and met Dr. Hottes, who was impressed so much by the young man that he loaned Stupka the money necessary to pay his college tuition.
Stupka wrote a weekly column titled “The Nature Trail” for the Ohio State Journal while a student at Ohio State University, where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees.
He then moved to Yosemite National Park, where he attended Yosemite School of Field Natural History.
Stupka married his college sweetheart, Margaret McCloud, when she graduated from Ohio State and the couple moved to Bar Harbor, Maine, where he worked in Acadia National Park for three years.
While at Acadia, Stupka conducted a host of campfire talks, illustrated lectures; nature walks and hikes to the summit of Cadillac Mountain as well as deep sea fishing excursions. Together, he and his wife issued a monthly self-illustrated mimeographed publication known as Nature Notes.
In 1935 Arthur accepted a position and moved to the recently established Great Smoky Mountains National Park. J. Ross Eakin, the first superintendent of the national park, was preoccupied when Stupka arrived with overseeing Civilian Conservation Corps projects before promoting the majestic mountains to visitors.
Eakin advised him to get acquainted with the park. Stupka spent four years hiking, observing, recording, building the park’s natural history collection and making connections with scientists before he offered a single public hike or evening program.After he became familiar with the park, Stupka began implementing an interpretive program. He wrote guides for nearly every nature trail in the park and led visitors on walks and auto caravans.
Rotating among the Mountain View Hotel, the New Riverside Hotel, the Gatlinburg Inn and the Greystone Hotel, Stupka presented evening programs for many years to promote the natural beauty of the park.
Stupka’s energy and methodology attracted the attention of countless scientists and their students who came to the Great Smoky Mountains on an annual basis to study and categorize its natural assets.
Stupka was always infinitely interested in the world of nature. Although he held firm opinions, Stupka displayed little interest in politics or personalities. Therefore he remained in contact with scientists from all over the country. Among them were Stanley Cain, Jack Sharp and H.M. Jennison from the University of Tennessee.
Whether he was entertaining scientists, recording notes in his famous journals or taking pictures of the natural beauty he observed, his wife, Margaret, was his chief collaborator.
In addition to her household duties and caring for their daughters, Carolyn and Maryann, she accompanied her husband on many of his hikes and took pictures of his discoveries. Margaret also typed descriptions on corresponding cards for every picture taken on the walks.
Margaret, who used her typing skills to work her way through college, somehow found time to type the notes Arthur entered in his considerable journals as well.
When her girls were growing up, Margaret sewed many of their dresses. Later she attended fiber arts classes at Arrowmont to master her skills in stitchery and joined the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
When Stupka entertained his famous guests, it was Margaret who prepared delicious home cooked meals for the wayfaring naturalists.
While Stupka’s knowledge and enthusiasm made his presentations interesting and entertaining, he was never one for useless, mundane chatter. A rare exception was on an overnight trip he led to Mt. LeConte Lodge. After dinner and witnessing a spectacular sunset the guests gathered in the dining room to hear Stupka speak.
When one of the quests innocently asked Stupka what to do if a bear came toward them, he quipped, “Put your hand in the bear’s mouth; grab his tail, turn him inside out and you will have turned him the other way.” His singular attempt at humor surprised everyone who knew him.
After living in downtown Gatlinburg for many years, the Stupkas moved to a house in the Buckhorn area designed by Hubert Bebb, the architect who designed several noted structures in the Smoky Mountains including the iconic observation tower at Clingmans Dome.
In 1960, Stupka stepped down as chief park naturalist and took the position of park biologist. Over the next four years, he worked tirelessly to produce publications such as a natural history handbook for the park, a book on birds, one on trees, shrubs and woody vines, and another on southern Appalachian wildflowers. At age 59, he retired in 1964.
A few years after his retirement, Arthur and Margaret began visiting the Hemlock Inn near Bryson City, N.C. While there, Margaret pursued her interest in photography and Arthur served as naturalist in exchange for room and board.
After 49 years of marriage, Margaret died on June 15, 1981. She was 72 years old. Stupka then married Grace Rehrer Grossman, a widow of park architect Charles S. Grossman.
In 1983, Stupka donated his personal papers and library to the park’s library. He and Grace then moved to Florida but returned to the mountains every spring.
Two months after Grace passed away, Arthur Stupka died on April 12, 1999. He was 93. His legacy is unparallel in the annals of Great Smoky Mountains National Park history. A total of eight new species were named after him; among them a spider, a crane fly, a leaf hopper, a beetle and a mite from a lemming mouse.
2007, the natural history study collection at the new Twin Creeks Science and Education Center was dedicated to Arthur Stupka. The collection, initiated by Stupka himself, was first housed in the attic of the Park Headquarters and later moved to the basement of the Sugarlands Visitors Center.
Stupka’s impact reaches far beyond the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since his death, a wild fire destroyed the vegetation on a particular island in Arcadia National Park. Park officials relied on information recorded in Stupka’s journals, which he had written while a naturalist there between 1932 and 1935, to identify the species native to the island.
— Carroll McMahan is the Special Projects Facilitator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. The Upland Chronicles series celebrates the heritage and past of Sevier County. If you have suggestions for future topics, would like to submit a column or have comments, please contact Carroll McMahan at 453-6411 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ron Rader at 604-9161 or email to email@example.com.
- [S74] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 12 Apr 1999.
Stupka, Arthur John 93 widowed by Margaret McCloud Stupka 6-15-81 and Grace Grossman Stupka 2-7-99 b. 10-24-1905 Cleveland OH d. 4-12-99 Sev Ft Sanders Hoisp res 1245 Murrell Ln Sev Nat’l Park naturalist f. Louis Stupka m. Mary Krupz educa 12 + 6 Walnut Grove Cem Survivors: 2 dau Maryann Stupka Carolyn & Conley Murrell same address 4 gc Julie King Karen & Robert McMahan Teddy & Vicky Compton Murrell Tracy & Gregg Price 7 ggc.