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Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennesseemarker, behind Memphismarker and Nashvillemarker, and is the county seat of Knox Countymarker. It is also the largest city in East Tennessee. As of the 2000 United States Census, Knoxville had a total population of 173,890; the July 2007 estimated population was 183,546. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Areamarker with a metro population of 655,400, which is in turn the central component of the Knoxville-Seviervillemarker-La Follettemarker Combined Statistical Area with 1,029,155 residents.


Of Tennessee's four major cities, Knoxville is second oldest to Nashvillemarker which was founded in 1779. After Tennessee's admission into the Union in 1796, Knoxville was the state's first capital, in which capacity it served until 1819, when the capital was moved to Murfreesboromarker, prior to Nashville receiving the designation. The city was named in honor of the first Secretary of War, Henry Knox.

One of Knoxville's nicknames is The Marble City. In the early 20th century, a number of quarries were active in the city, supplying Tennessee pink marble (actually Ordovician limestone of the Holston Formation) to much of the country. Notable buildings such as the National Gallery of Artmarker in Washingtonmarker are constructed of Knoxville marble. The National Gallery's fountains were turned by Candoro Marble Company, which once ran the largest marble lathes in the United States.

Knoxville was once also known as the Underwear Capital of the World. In the 1930s, no fewer than 20 textile and clothing mills operated in Knoxville, and the industry was the city's largest employer. In the 1950s, the mills began to close, causing an overall population loss of 10% by 1960.

Knoxville is also the home of the University of Tennesseemarker's primary campus. The university's sports teams, called the "Volunteers" or "Vols", are extremely popular in the surrounding area. In recognition of this popularity, the telephone area code for Knox County and eight adjacent counties is 865 . Knoxville is also the home of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, almost entirely thanks to the popularity of Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee women's basketball team.


Early history

The first humans to form substantial settlements in what is now Knoxville arrived during the Woodland period (c. 1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D). One of the oldest man-made structures in Knoxville is a burial mound constructed during the early Mississippian period (c. 1000 A.D.). The mound is located on the University of Tennessee campus. Other prehistoric sites include an Early Woodland habitation area at the confluence of the Tennessee River and Knob Creek (near the Knox-Blount county line), and Dallas phase Mississippian villages at Post Oak Island (also along the river near the Knox-Blount line), and at Bussell Island (at the mouth of the Little Tennessee Rivermarker near Lenoir City).

By the 18th century, the Cherokee had become the dominant tribe in the East Tennessee region, although they were consistently at war with the Creeks and Shawnee. The Cherokee people called the Knoxville area kuwanda'talun'yi, which means "Mulberry Place." Most Cherokee habitation in the area was concentrated in the Overhill settlements along the Little Tennessee Rivermarker, southwest of Knoxville.

The first Euro-American traders and explorers arrived in the Tennessee Valley in the late 1600s, although there is significant evidence that Hernando de Soto visited the Bussell Island site in 1540. The first major recorded Euro-American presence in the Knoxville area was the Henry Timberlake expedition, which passed through the confluence of the Holston and French Broad into the Tennessee River in December 1761. Timberlake, who was en route to the Overhill settlements along the Little Tennessee River, recalled being pleasantly surprised by the deep waters of the Tennessee after having struggled down the relatively shallow Holston for several weeks.


The home of James White in Downtown Knoxville

The end of the French and Indian War and confusion brought about by the American Revolution led to a drastic increase in Euro-American settlement west of the Appalachians. By the 1780s, Euro-American settlers were already established in the Holston and French Broad valleys. Since the Cherokee had not ceded this land, however, most of these settlers were in the valley illegally. The U.S. Congress ordered all illegal settlers out of the valley in 1785, but with little success. As settlers continued to trickle into Cherokee lands, tensions between the settlers and the Cherokee rose steadily.

In 1786, James White, a Revolutionary War officer, and his friend James Connor built White's Fortmarker near the mouth of First Creek, on land White had purchased three years earlier. In 1790, White's son-in-law, Charles McClung— who had arrived from Pennsylvania the previous year— surveyed White's holdings between First Creek and Second Creek for the establishment of a town. McClung drew up 64 lots. The waterfront was set aside for a town common. Two lots were set aside for a church and graveyard (First Presbyterian Church, founded 1792). Four lots were set aside for a school. That school was eventually chartered as Blount College and it served as the starting point for the University of Tennessee, which uses Blount College's founding date of 1794, as its own. Also in 1790, President George Washington appointed North Carolina surveyor William Blount governor of the newly-created Territory South of the River Ohio.

Statue representing the signing of the Treaty of the Holston in Downtown Knoxville
of Blount's first tasks was to meet with the Cherokee and establish territorial boundaries and resolve the issue of illegal settlers. This he accomplished almost immediately with the Treaty of Holston, which was negotiated and signed at White's Fort in 1791. Blount originally wanted to place the territorial capital at the confluence of the Clinch River and Tennessee River (now Kingstonmarker), but when the Cherokee refused to cede this land, Blount chose White's Fort, which McClung had surveyed the previous year. Blount named the new capital Knoxville after Revolutionary War general and Secretary of War Henry Knox, who at the time was Blount's immediate superior.

Problems immediately arose from the Holston Treaty. Blount believed that he had "purchased" much of what is now East Tennessee when the treaty was signed in 1791. However, the terms of the treaty came under dispute, culminating in continued violence on both sides. When the government invited the Cherokee's chief Hanging Maw for negotiations in 1793, Knoxville settlers attacked the Cherokee against orders, killing the chief's wife. Peace was renegotiated in 1794.

Antebellum Knoxville

The Craighead-Jackson House in Knoxville, built in 1818

Knoxville served as capital of the Territory South of the River Ohio and as capital of Tennessee (admitted as a state in 1796) until 1817, when the capital was moved to Murfreesboromarker. Early Knoxville has been described as an "alternately quiet and rowdy river town." Early issues of the Knoxville Gazette— the first newspaper published in Tennessee— are filled with accounts of murder, theft, and hostile Cherokee attacks. Abishai Thomas, a friend of William Blount, visited Knoxville in 1794 and wrote that while he was impressed by the town's modern frame buildings, the town had "seven taverns" and no church.

Knoxville initially thrived as a way station for travelers and migrants heading west. Its situation at the confluence of three major rivers in the Tennessee Valley brought flatboat and later steamboat traffic to its waterfront in the first half of the 19th-century, and Knoxville quickly developed into a regional merchandising center. Local agricultural products— especially tobacco, corn, and whiskey— were traded for cotton, which was grown in the Deep South.The population of Knoxville more than doubled in the 1850s with the arrival of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad in 1855.

Among the most prominent citizens of Knoxville during the Antebellum years was James White's son, Hugh Lawson White (1773-1840). White first served as a judge and state senator before being nominated by the state legislature to replace Andrew Jackson in the U.S. Senate in 1825. In 1836, White ran unsuccessfully for president, representing the Whig Party.

The U.S. Civil War

Engraving showing Confederate troops firing at Union supporter Charles Douglas on Gay Street in Knoxville in late 1861

Anti-slavery and anti-secession sentiment ran high in East Tennessee in the years leading up to the U.S. Civil War. William "Parson" Brownlow, the radical publisher of the Knoxville Whig, was one of the region's leading anti-secessionists (although he defended the practice of slavery). Blount County, just south of Knoxville, had developed into a center of abolitionist activity, due in part to its relatively large Quaker faction and the anti-slavery president of Maryville Collegemarker, Isaac Anderson. The Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church, Knoxville was reportedly a station on the underground railroad. Business interests, however, guided largely by Knoxville's trade connections with cotton-growing centers to the south, contributed to the development of a strong pro-secession movement within the city. The city's pro-secessionists included among their ranks Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey, a prominent historian whose father had built the Ramsey Housemarker in 1797. Thus, while East Tennessee and greater Knox County voted decisively against secession in 1861, the city of Knoxville favored secession by a 2-1 margin. In late May 1861, just before the secession vote, delegates of the East Tennessee Convention met at Temperance Hall in Knoxville in hopes of keeping Tennessee in the Union. After Tennessee voted to secede the following month, the convention met in Greeneville and attempted to create a separate Union-aligned state in East Tennessee.

Photograph showing the aftermath of the Siege of Knoxville, December 1863

In July 1861, after Tennessee had joined the Confederacy, General Felix Zollicoffer arrived in Knoxville as commander of the District of East Tennessee. While initially lenient toward the city's Union sympathizers, Zollicoffer instituted martial law in November of that year after Union guerillas destroyed seven of the city's bridges. The command of the district passed briefly to George Crittenden and then to Kirby Smith, the latter of whom launched a failed invasion of Kentucky in August 1862. In early 1863, General Simon Buckner took command of Confederate forces in Knoxville. Anticipating a Union invasion, Buckner fortified Fort Loudon (in West Knoxville, not to be confused with the colonial fortmarker to the southwest) and began constructing earthworks throughout the city. The approach of Union forces under Ambrose Burnside in the Summer of 1863, however, forced Buckner to evacuate Knoxville before the earthworks were completed.

Burnside arrived in Knoxville in early September 1863. Like the Confederates, he immediately began fortifying the city. The Union forces rebuilt Fort Loudon and erected 12 other forts and batteries flanked by entrenchments around the city. Burnside moved a pontoon bridge upstream from Loudonmarker, allowing Union forces to cross the river and build a series of forts along the heights of South Knoxville, including Fort Stanley and Fort Dickerson.

As Burnside was fortifying Knoxville, the Confederate army defeated Union forces at the Battle of Chickamaugamarker (near the Tennessee-Georgia line) and subsequently laid siege to Chattanoogamarker. On November 3, 1863, the Confederates dispatched General James Longstreet north to attack Burnside at Knoxville. Longstreet initially wanted to attack the city from the south, but lacking the means to carry the necessary pontoon bridges, he was forced to cross the river further downstream at Loudon (November 14) and march against the city's heavily-fortified western section. On November 15, General Joseph Wheeler unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge Union forces in the heights of South Knoxville, and the following day Longstreet failed to cut off retreating Union forces at Campbell's Station (now Farragut). On November 18, General William P. Sanders was mortally wounded while conducting delaying maneuvers west of Knoxville, and Fort Loudon was renamed Fort Sanders in his honor. On November 29, after a two-week siege, the Confederates attacked Fort Sanders, but retreated after a fierce 20-minute engagement. On December 4, after word of the Confederate setback at Chattanoogamarker reached Longstreet, Longstreet abandoned his attempts to take Knoxville and retreated into winter quarters at Russellvillemarker. He rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia the following Spring.

Reconstruction and the Industrial Age

Early-1900s photograph of the Republic Marble Quarry near Knoxville

After the war, northern investors such as the brothers Joesph and David Richards helped Knoxville recover relatively quickly. Joseph and David Richards convinced 104 Welsh immigrant families to migrate from the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvaniamarker to work in a rolling mill then co-owned by John H. Jones. These Welsh families settled in an area now known as Mechanicsvillemarker. The Richards brothers also co-founded the Knoxville Iron Works beside the L&N Railroad, also employing Welsh workers. Later the site would be used as the grounds for the 1982 World's Fairmarker.

Other companies that sprang up during this period were Knoxville Woolen Mills, Dixie Cement, and Woodruff's Furniture. Between 1880 and 1887, 97 factories were established in Knoxville, most of them specializing in textiles, food products, and iron products. By the 1890s, Knoxville was home to more than 50 wholesaling houses, making it the third largest wholesaling center by volume in the South. The Candoro Marble Works, established in the community of Vestal in 1914, became the nation's foremost producer of pink marble and one of the nation's largest marble importers.

In 1869, Thomas Hughes, a Union-sympathizer and president of East Tennessee University, secured federal wartime restitution funding and state-designated Morrill Act funding to expand the college, which had been occupied by both armies during the war. In 1879, the school changed its name to the University of Tennessee, hoping to secure more funding from the Tennessee state legislature. Charles Dabney, who became president of the university in 1887, overhauled the faculty and established a law school in an attempt to modernize the scope of the university.

The post-war manufacturing boom brought thousands of immigrants to the city. The population of Knoxville grew from around 5,000 in 1860 to 32,637 in 1900. West Knoxville was annexed in 1897, and over 5,000 new homes were built between 1895 and 1904.

In 1901, train robber Kid Curry (whose real name was Harvey Logan), a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch was captured after shooting two deputies on Knoxville's Central Avenue. He escaped from the Knoxville Jail and rode away on a horse stolen from the sheriff.

The Progressive Era and the Great Depression

Kingston Pike, circa 1910.

The growing city of Knoxville hosted the Appalachian Exposition in 1910 and again in 1911, and the National Conservation Exposition in 1913. The latter is sometimes credited with giving rise to the movement to create a national park in the Great Smoky Mountains, some south of Knoxville. Around this time, a number of affluent Knoxvillians began purchasing summer cottages in Elkmontmarker, and began to pursue the park idea more vigorously. They were led by Knoxville businessman Colonel David C. Chapman, who as head of the Great Smoky Mountains Park Commission was largely responsible for raising the funds for the purchase of the property that became the core of the park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Parkmarker opened in 1933.

Gay Street in the early 1900s

Knoxville's reliance on a manufacturing economy left it particularly vulnerable to the fallout from the Great Depression. The Tennessee Valley also suffered from constant flooding, and millions of acres of farmland had been ruined by soil erosion. To control flooding and improve the economy in the Tennessee Valley, the federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933. Beginning with Norris Dammarker, TVA constructed a series of hydroelectric and other power plants throughout the valley over the next few decades, bringing flood control, jobs, and electricity to the region. The Federal Works Projects Administration, which also arrived in the 1930s, helped to build McGhee-Tyson Airportmarker and expand Neyland Stadiummarker. TVA's headquarters, which consists of two twin high rises built in the 1970s, were among Knoxville's first modern high-rise buildings.

In 1948, the soft drink Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville, originally designed as a mixer for whiskey.[20109] Around the same time, John Gunther, author of Inside USA, dubbed Knoxville the "ugliest city" in America. Gunther's description jolted the city into enacting a series of beautification measures that helped improve the appearance of the Downtown area.

Modern Knoxville

Research laboratory at U.T. in the early 1940s

Knoxville's textile and manufacturing industries largely fell victim to foreign competition in the 1950s and 1960s, and after the establishment of the Interstate Highway system in the 1960s, the railroad— which had been largely responsible for Knoxville's industrial growth— began to decline. The rise of suburban shopping malls in the 1970s drew retail revenues away from Knoxville's Downtown area. While government jobs and economic diversification prevented widespread unemployment in Knoxville, the city sought to recover the massive loss of revenue by attempting to annex neighboring communities in Knox County. These annexation attempts often turned combative, and several attempts to merge the Knoxville and Knox County governments failed.

The Sterchi Lofts building, formerly Sterchi Brothers Furniture store, the most prominent building on Knoxville's "100 Block"

With annexation attempts stalling, Knoxville initiated several projects aimed at boosting revenue in the Downtown area. The 1982 World's Fairmarker— the most successful of these projects— became one of the most popular world's fairs in U.S. history with 11 million visitors. The fair's energy theme was selected due to Knoxville being the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority and for the city's proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratorymarker. The Sunspheremarker, a steel truss structure topped with a gold-colored glass sphere, was built for the fair and remains one of Knoxville's most prominent buildings, along with the adjacent amphitheater which underwent a renovation that was completed in 2008.

Ever since, Knoxville's downtown has been developing, with the opening of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Convention Center, redevelopment of Market Square, a new visitors center, a regional history museum, a Regal Cinemas theater, several restaurants and bars, and many new and redeveloped condominiums.


Southeastern view of Knoxville.
Knoxville is located at (35.972882, -83.942161) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 98.1 square miles (254.0 km²), of which, 92.7 square miles (240.0 km²) of it is land and 5.4 square miles (14.1 km²) of it is water. The total area is 5.5% water.

In the southeast part of the city, the French Broad River (flowing from Ashevillemarker, North Carolinamarker) joins the Holston River (flowing from Kingsportmarker) to form the Tennessee River. Knoxville is centered around a hilly area along the north bank of the river between its First Creek and Second Creek tributaries. This area now comprises Downtown Knoxville. South Knoxville refers to the industrial and residential areas along the south bank of the river (extending to the Blount County line), and West Knoxville typically refers to the area beyond Sequoyah Hills, much of which is situated along Kingston Pike and the merged I-40 and I-75. The Knox County section of the Tennessee River is technically part of Fort Loudoun Lake, an impoundment of the river created by the completion of Fort Loudoun Dammarker (near Lenoir Citymarker) in 1940.

The hills and ridges surrounding Knoxville are part of the Appalachian Ridge-and-Valley Province, which consists of a series of elongate and narrow ridges that traverse the upper Tennessee Valley. The most substantial Ridge-and-Valley structures in the Knoxville area are Bays Mountain, which runs along the Knox-Blount county line to the south, and Beaver Ridge, which passes through the northern section of the town. The Great Smoky Mountains— a subrange of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker— are located approximately south of Knoxville.

Principal highways serving the city Interstate 40 to Asheville, North Carolinamarker, and Nashvillemarker and Interstate 75 to Chattanoogamarker and Lexingtonmarker. Knoxville and the surrounding area is served by McGhee Tyson Airportmarker. Public transportation is provided by KAT. Rail freight is offered by CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Knoxville is listed as one of eighteen 'Major Cities' in the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion.


Knoxville falls in the humid subtropical climate zone (Koppen climate classification Cfa), although it is not quite as hot as areas to the south and west due to the higher elevations. Summers are hot and very humid, with July highs averaging 88°F (31°C) and lows averaging 69°F (20°C). According to former local meteorologist Brittany Tarr, triple digit temperatures in Knoxville are fairly rare, however. Winters are generally cool with snow not an uncommon occurrence, with January averaging a high of 46°F (8°C) and a low of 29°F (-2°C), although low temperaures in the teens are an annual occurrence with occasional single digits. The record high for Knoxville is 104°F (40°C), while the record low is -24°F (-31°C). Annual rainfall averages 48.2 inches (1,225 mm), and average winter snowfall is 9.9 inches (25 cm).

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 77 83 86 92 94 102 103 102 103 91 84 80
Norm High °F 46.3 51.7 60.3 69 76.3 83.6 86.9 86.4 80.7 69.9 59 49.8
Norm Low °F 28.9 31.8 39.1 46.6 55.6 63.9 68.5 67.3 60.8 47.7 38.9 31.9
Rec Low °F -24 -8 1 22 32 43 49 49 36 25 5 -6
Precip (in) 4.57 4.01 5.17 3.99 4.68 4.04 4.71 2.89 3.04 2.65 3.98 4.49
Source: [20110]

Nearby towns and cities


Krutch Park in Downtown Knoxville.
  • Arlington
  • Bearden
  • Bluegrass
  • Burlington
  • Cedar Bluff
  • Chilhowee Parkmarker
  • Colonial Village
  • Dante
  • Downtown
  • East Knoxville
  • Edgewood
  • Emory Place
  • Fairmont-Emoriland
  • Five Points
  • Forest Hills
  • Fort Sanders, also called "the Fort"
  • Fountain Citymarker
  • Fourth & Gill
  • Holston Hills
  • Island Home
  • Karns
  • Lake Forest
  • Lincoln Park
  • Lindbergh Forest
  • Lonsdale
  • Mechanicsvillemarker
  • Morningside
  • Mt. Vista
  • North Hills
  • Norwood/Inskip
  • Oakwood-Lincoln Park
  • Old City, formerly known as the Warehouse district
  • Old North Knoxville
  • Old Sevier
  • Parkridge (Park City)
  • Rocky Hill
  • Sequoyah Hills
  • South Haven
  • Vestal
  • Ward Town
  • Wedgewood Hills
  • West Hills
  • Westwood
  • Western Heights
  • Westmoreland
  • Wood Haven

Major streets


Old Knox County Courthouse in Downtown Knoxville
As of the census of 2000, there were 177,661 people, 76,650 households, and 40,164 families residing in the city, and the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 616,079. The population density was 1,876.7 people per square mile (724.6/km²). There were 84,981 housing units at an average density of 917.1/sq mi (354.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.7% White, 16.2% African American, 1.45% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.58% of the population.

There were 76,650 households out of which 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.6% were non-families. 38.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.7% under the age of 18, 16.8% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $27,492, and the median income for a family is $37,708. Males had a median income of $29,070 versus $22,593 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,171. About 14.4% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

In 2006, ERI published an analysis that identified Knoxville as the most affordable U.S. city for new college graduates, based on the ratio of typical salary to cost of living.

Population and household growth are expected to follow employment growth, causing increased housing demand during the forecast period. Resident employment should continue to grow at a pace equal to that from 2000 to the Current date. As population continues to increase and the labor force grows, the unemployment rate is projected to increase slightly to 3.7 percent. The population growth is estimated to result in 12,900 new households in the HMA by the Forecast date. Demand for new housing for the period from April 1, 2005, to April 1, 2008, is estimated to total 13,100 units — 10,400 sales units and 2,700 rental units.


During the 1990s, growth in the number of households averaged 3,575 a year. The number of renter households grew by an average annual increase of 600 during the 1990s compared to an average annual increase of 900 from 2000 to the Current date. From 2000 to the Current date, the total average annual household growth was 3,925. Average annual household growth is expected to continue increasing by 4,300 through the forecast period and total 262,800 as of April 1, 2008. Since 1990, average household size in the HMA has been decreasing steadily. This decrease can be attributed to a growing number of students and retirees and to an overall demographic shift toward smaller families.


Knoxville is governed by a mayor and nine-member City Council. It uses the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system. There are three council members who are elected at-large and six council members that represent individual districts. The City Council meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building. As of 2008, the current mayor is Bill Haslam, who defeated Madeline Rogero in the 2003 election. The previous mayor of sixteen years, Victor Ashe, was named United States Ambassador to Polandmarker in June 2004. Ashe was term-limited and could not serve another term.


Knoxville's economy is largely fueled by the regional location of the main campus of the University of Tennesseemarker, the Oak Ridge National Laboratorymarker and other Department of Energy facilities in nearby Oak Ridgemarker, the National Transportation Research Center, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These make Knoxville the heart of the high-tech Tennessee Valley Corridor, which extends from Blacksburg, Virginiamarker to Huntsville, Alabamamarker.

Because of its central location in the eastern half of the United States and proximity to two major Interstate highways, many warehousing and distribution companies operate in and around Knoxville. The Old City is home to most of Knoxville's historic warehouses and factories.

In April 2008, Forbes Magazine named Knoxville among the Top 10 Metropolitan Hotspots in the United States.

In March 2009, CNN ranked Knoxville as the 59th city in the top 100 US metro areas, in terms of real estate price depreciation. The median price of a home in Knoxville is $184,900.

Major companies headquartered in Knoxville

Colleges and universities

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is the state's flagship public university.
Knoxville is home to the main campus of the University of Tennesseemarker. It is also home to:

In addition, the following institutions have branch campus in Knoxville:


Tennessee Theatre.

Knoxville is home to a rich arts community and has many festivals throughout the year. Its contributions to old-time, bluegrass and country music are numerous, from Flatt & Scruggs and Homer & Jethro to the Everly Brothers and Hank Williams, who spent the last night of his life there. For the past several years an award-winning listener-funded radio station, WDVXmarker, has broadcast weekday lunchtime concerts of bluegrass music, old-time music and more from the Knoxville Visitor's Center on Gay Street, as well as streaming its music programming to the world over the Internet.

Knoxville also boasts an Opera Company which has been guided by Don Townsend for over two decades. The KOC performs a season of opera every year with a talented chorus as the backbone of each production.

In its May 2003 "20 Most Rock & Roll towns in the U.S." feature, Blender ranked Knoxville the 17th best music scene in the United States. In the ’90s, noted alternative-music critic Ann Powers, author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, referred to the city as "Austin without the hype".

The city also hosts numerous art festivals, including the 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival in April, which features art shows, crafts fairs, food and live music. Also in April is the Rossini Festival, which celebrates opera and Italian culture. June's Kuumba (meaning creativity in Swahili) Festival commemorates the region's African American heritage and showcases visual arts, folk arts, dance, games, music, storytelling, theater, and food. Autumn on the Square showcases national and local artists in outdoor concert series at historic Market Square, which has been revitalized with specialty shops and residences. Every Labor Day brings Boomsday, the largest Labor Day fireworks display in the United States, to the banks of the Tennessee River between the University of Tennessee football stadium and downtown.

Literature & Pop Culture

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and playwright James Agee was born in Knoxville and spent his early years there. His novel A Death in the Family centers around the Fort Sanders neighborhood where the Agees lived and chronicles the death of Agee's father. Another Pulitzer recipient, Cormac McCarthy, spent most of his childhood in Knoxville. McCarthy graduated from Knoxville Catholic High School and later attended the University of Tennessee, and his novel Suttree revolves around life among the city's working class in the early 1950s. Other notable natives include Patricia Neal, Quentin Tarantino, David Keith, Brad Renfro and Johnny Knoxville. References to Knoxville, Tennessee, or Knoxville landmarks in literature and pop culture include:



Nearby attractions

  • Farragut Folklife Museum, Farragut
  • Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum, Townsend
  • Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
  • Norris Dammarker
  • Tuckaleechee Caverns
  • Forbidden Caverns
  • Knoxville Mountain Bike Trails
  • Obed Wild & Scenic River (National Park Service)
  • TVA Lakes
  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Greeneville
  • Loudon County Museum/Carmichael Inn, Loudon
  • House Mountain State Park
  • Big Ridge State Park
  • Roan Mountain State Park

Sites of interest


Notable Knoxvillians

Sister cities

Knoxville has seven sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International:


  1. US Census Bureau Factfinder
  2. Jack Neely, The Marble City: A Photographic Tour of Knoxville's Graveyards (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 1999), xxi.
  3. Video: A Monument to underwear from Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  4. Fletcher Jolly III, "40KN37: An Early Woodland Habitation Site in Knox County, Tennessee", Tennessee Archaeologist 31, nos. 1-2 (1976), 51.
  5. Frank H. McClung Museum, " Woodland Period." Retrieved: 25 March 2008.
  6. James Strange, "An Unusual Late Prehistoric Pipe from Post Oak Island (40KN23)", Tennessee Archaeologist 30, no. 1 (1974), 80.
  7. Richard Polhemus, The Toqua Site — 40MR6, Vol. I (Norris, Tenn.: Tennessee Valley Authority, 1987), 1240-1246.
  8. Cora Tula Watters, "Shawnee." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 278-279.
  9. Ima Stephens, "Creek." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 252-253.
  10. James Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee (Nashville: Charles Elder, 1972), 526.
  11. Jefferson Chapman, Tellico Archaeology: 12,000 Years of Native American History (Norris, Tenn.: Tennessee Valley Authority, 1985), 97.
  12. Henry Timberlake, Samuel Williams (ed.), Memoirs, 1756-1765 (Marietta, Georgia: Continental Book Co., 1948), 54.
  13. William MacArthur, Knoxville, Crossroads of the New South (Tulsa, Okla.: Continental Heritage Press, 1982), 1-15.
  14. Yong Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site: A Civil War Union Encampment on the Southern Heights of Knoxville, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Transportation Center, 1993), 9.
  15. Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 9.
  16. MacArthur, 17.
  17. William MacArthur, Jr., Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Continental Heritage Press, 1982), 17-22.
  18. G. H. Stueckrath, " Incidents in the Early Settlement of East Tennessee and Knoxville." Originally published in De Bow's Review Vol. XXVII (October 1859), O.S. Enlarged Series. Vol. II, No. 4, N.S. Pages 407-419. Transcribed for web content by Billie McNamara, 1999-2002. Retrieved: 25 February 2008.
  19. W. Bruce Wheeler, " Knoxville." The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 26 February 2008.
  20. MacArthur, Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South, 23.
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  23. Durwood Dunn, Cades Cove: The Life and Death of An Appalachian Community (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988), 125.
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  25. MacArthur, Knoxville: Crossroads of the New South, 42-44.
  26. Eric Lacy, Vanquished Volunteers: East Tennessee Sectionalism from Statehood to Secession (Johnson City, Tenn.: East Tennessee State University Press, 1965), pp. 217-233.
  27. Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 10.
  28. Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 10-12.
  29. Kim, The Sevierville Hill Site, 15-17.
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  35. Carlos Campbell, Birth of a National Park In the Great Smoky Mountains (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1969), 13-18, 32.
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  40. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, "Knoxville Climate Normals and Records", Retrieved 2009-01-04
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  43. Top 100 Metro Area Home Price Forecast
  44. Knoxville Real Estate Market Trends
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  48. Quentin Tarantino at Notable Names Database. Retrieved: 13 August 2008.
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  51. " Sheila and Sherry: The Aldridge Sisters." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
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  66. " The 400 Richest Americans - Guilford Glazer." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
  67. Life is 1 Big Romp for "Jungle Jack" Hanna
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  72. " Biography - Jeff Jarrett." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.
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  87. " ." Retrieved: 24 April 2008.


  • Carey, Ruth. "Change Comes to Knoxville." in These Are Our Voices: The Story of Oak Ridge 1942-1970, edited by James Overholt, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1987.
  • Deaderick, Lucile, ed. Heart of the Valley—A History of Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville: East Tennessee Historical Societymarker, 1976.
  • Jennifer Long; "Government Job Creation Programs-Lessons from the 1930s and 1940s" Journal of Economic Issues . Volume: 33. Issue: 4. 1999. pp 903+, a case study of Knoxville.
  • The Mcclung museum at The University of Tennessee Knoxville, "Archaeology & the Native Peoples of Tennessee" exhibit.
  • McDonald, Michael, and Bruce Wheeler. Knoxville, Tennessee: Continuity and Change in an Appalachian City University of Tennessee Press, 1983. the standard academic history
  • The Future of Knoxville's Past: Historic and Architectural Resources in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Knoxville Historic Zoning Commission, October, 2006).
  • Rothrock, Mary U., editor. The French Broad-Holston Country: A History of Knox County, Tennessee. (Knox County Historical Committee; East Tennessee Historical Society, 1946).
  • Isenhour, Judith Clayton. Knoxville, A Pictorial History. (Donning Company, 1978, 1980).
  • Barber, John W., and Howe, Henry. All the Western States and Territories, . . . (Cincinnati, Ohio: Howe's Subscription Book Concern, 1867). pp. 631–632.

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