Blount County was established in 1795 when the territorial Legislature separated a part of Knox County. The new county was named in honor of William Blount, Governor of the Territory of the United States “South of the River Ohio.” The County seat was authorized to be laid out in 1795 and was named Maryville in honor of Mary Blount, the wife of Governor William Blount.
Maryville and Alcoa were founded in 1790; Maryville is the county seat of Blount County and covers an area of 11.46 square miles. Formerly known as Maryville, Alcoa was incorporated in 1919 and was named for the founder of the city, Aluminum Company of America. The City of Alcoa covers an area of 8.68 square miles.
The first settlers came primarily from Virginia in 1785 and were mainly Scot-Irish Presbyteries. Due to the topography of the area and a limitation on the number of acres allowed in early land grants, Blount County did not have any large plantations. Fertile land, adequate water supply, and plentiful timber made the area very appealing to settlers.
Blount County’s first lumber mill was recorded in 1788. Lumber was the first principal industry of the county, only to be replaced by aluminum when Alcoa established its Tennessee operation in 1912. There are now over 70 manufacturing plants in the county.
Nestled in the Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Blount County is one of the oldest counties in Tennessee. The county covers 584 square miles in the extreme eastern portion of Tennessee, including miles of wooded rolling hills, sky-blue lakes and scenic mountains.
Blount County is one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee, increasing its population by 22 percent from 1970 to 1980, with an additional increase of 10.5 percent from 1980 to 1990. With a total population of close to 125,000 people. Maryville consists of 28,000 residents with 8,500 residing in Alcoa.
Companies used to come to Blount County because of the low taxes and inexpensive labor and land. Today companies still enjoy the financial benefits of choosing Blount County because of the quality of life, labor and the community in a county that encompasses one third of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, yet lies only 15 minutes from metropolitan Knoxville.
The people in Blount County live better and not only because of the scenery. The cost of living is 24 percent less than in America’s top five cities and four percent below the national average. Dollars are stretched to cover things that might only be a dream in other cities.
The weather in Blount County typically provides a mild variation of all four seasons. Average temperatures range from 48.7 degrees in the winter to 87 degrees in the summer. Blount County receives an annual total of 47.29 inches of rainfall. The area’s average cumulative snowfall is 12.2 inches, usually coming in amounts of less than four inches at a time.
The county is a fantastic place to live if you enjoy the outdoors. The southeastern corner of the county is included in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a mountain wilderness with more flora and fauna species than any national park in the country. There are rocky balds to climb and trout streams to wade. For boaters there are Calderwood, Chilhowee and Tellico Lakes to the south, Fort Loudon to the north, and the floatable Little River. There are six golf courses, including a country club, swimming pools, riding stables and even hang gliding.
There is a ballet company, summer playhouse, arts and crafts and country square dance clubs, and the Clayton Center of the Arts. Blount County offers 32 civic clubs and six professional societies. Shop in a beautiful regional mall or a variety of retail businesses throughout Maryville and Alcoa. There is a liberal arts college and public education that ranks in the top third of the State by expenditure per student. The University of Tennessee is only 10 miles away. Performing arts organizations in Blount County include, the Appalachian Ballet, the Maryville Dance Academy and the Blount County Junior Playhouse.
The Future…Blount County continues to grow with new residents and industry locating here. Blount County is on the cutting edge of city government, developing and implementing programs to provide a modern, safe and beautiful place to live.
The twin cities of Maryville and Alcoa provide a scenic gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, surrounded on all sides by lakes, rivers, and streams.
The Mountains shelter the Tennessee Valley, providing an annual average temperature of 56 degrees. Blount County experiences all four seasons with the brilliant colors of spring and fall. September brings in the fall of the year, and of course football season. Winter in the valley is primarily from January to mid February with occasional snowfall. Spring arrives in March and is usually rainy and chilly. The afternoons warm up to the 60’s and mid 70’s with blooming flowers during April. Summers are fairly typical with the highs in the upper 80’s and low 90’s.
NO Income Tax…
There is a 6% state tax for individuals on interest and dividend income only. The annual exemption is $ 1,250 for single and $ 2,500 for married taxpayers. The tax also exempts interest income from banks on savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit, etc. There are no other state and local individual taxes.
There are three school systems in Blount County: Alcoa City Schools, Blount County Schools, and Maryville City Schools. The three public school systems jointly received the State Department of Education’s A+ award for community commitment to excellence in education.
Included in the school systems are 19 elementary, middle schools, 4 high schools, and 1 adult high school. Private schools and vocational schools also serve the area.
A child must be five years of age to enroll in kindergarten and six years old to enter first grade (both ages as of September 20, in the year of matriculation).
Approximately 4,000 children attend the Maryville City Schools, 1,400 students attend Alcoa City schools, while Blount County system serves the remaining 10,000 county students. Quality instruction with low student-teacher ratios produces some of the finest schools in the state, and some of the highest SAT and ACT scores in the Southeast.
Cultural is an atmosphere and a heritage. In Blount County, vibrant community arts programs supplement heritage-oriented events. The Maryville-Alcoa College Community Orchestra presents a full season of classical, jazz and pops concerts featuring guest performances.
In Townsend, the focus is heritage, and music is an integral part. Townsend’s Spring Festival and Heritage Festival feature the musical and dancing talents found in these mountains and foothills. Arts and crafts demonstrations showcase certain talents, many of which were everyday necessities in the old days.
The heritage of Blount County is evidenced by the numerous historical structures and sites that have been preserved, some since the 1700’s. The eleven mile loop road through Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also a favorite spot, with cabin viewing, fields for picnicking, trails for hiking, and a working mill that demonstrates old-fashioned methods.
Area artists, weavers, potters, carvers and other craftspeople do their best to capture the majesty of the mountains. There are many galleries that display the local arts and crafts.
The beauty of the area is the inspiration for much of the art created here and the events are usually aligned with seasonal celebrations.
The recreation scene in Blount County is literally a recreation paradise. One third of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located within the county borders. Hiking, camping, swimming, wildlife watching, fishing and many other recreation opportunities of the Smoky Mountains are right in your back door.
Just outside the park tubing, canoeing and kayaking are popular. Water sports are quite plentiful in Blount County. The Chilhowee Lake, Tellico Lake and Fort Loudoun Lake border the county and the Tennessee River winds its way through the entire valley.
Other recreational opportunities abound through-out East Tennessee. Knoxville features the University of Tennessee football with a stadium that seats more than 102,000 roaring fans.