Late in the 18th Century, hardy frontiersmen crossed the Appalachians into the valley of “The Tennessee.” At the junction of the Holston and French Broad rivers, General James White established James White’s Fort; later renamed for George Washington’s Secretary of War, Henry Knox. In 1792, the first frame house west of the Appalachians, Blount Mansion, was built to accommodate the governor of the vast territory south of the river Ohio. Both White’s Fort and Blount Mansion remain amid the central business district allowing us to share a bit of the past.
In 1796, when the territory of the United States south of the River Ohio became the State of Tennessee; Knoxville became the first capital of Tennessee and remained so until 1812. Knoxville’s John Sevier was the first governor of Tennessee, serving six terms in all. Elected in 1816, Tom Emmerson served as the first mayor of Knoxville. The first official census, taken in 1850, showed a population of 2,076.
The War Between the States found Knoxville’s inhabitants sympathies divided. Being a strategic point for both the Union and Confederated forces, a major battle took place on November 29, 1863 at Fort Sanders. The battle was an important victory for the federal forces.
A landmark event that was to have a profound effect on the area took place in the 1930’s. A newly formed federal agency, the Tennessee Valley Authority, began its massively scaled plans to transform the entire valley with flood control and power generating dams on the Tennessee River. Knoxville was never to be the same again with the influx of new people, new ideas and the economic opportunities opened by the availability of low cost electric power.
Another event of great significance for the area came with World War II. Just 20 miles west of Knoxville, the village of Oak Ridge was chosen as the site of modern history’s most closely guarded secret, “The Manhattan Project”, Knoxville again became the metropolitan seat of power generation. This time, it was nuclear power.
For the people of the Knoxville area, the pattern of the future was growing clear. A location that once meant partial isolation came to be of singular strategic value with the coming of air transport and the advent of great highways. Diversified new industries took root and prospered, while those already existing expanded. As growth and progress became synonymous with prosperity, the atmosphere within leadership circles became charged with an optimism that still prevails.
In the continuing saga of growth and expansion, aggressive business leaders and government officials started in 1976 to plan the 1982 World’s Fair. Twenty-two countries and more than 90 corporations participated in the exposition, which attracted more than 11 million visitors. Knoxville, the most centrally located city in the Eastern United States, was poised for unlimited growth and development as we entered the 21st century.
The area retains the charm of a small southern town with the amenities of a big city making Knoxville unique and endearing in the hearts of it’s’ citizens, who proudly call this wonderful city “our home”. The pride and accomplishments of Knoxville gave birth to unlimited growth and development; supported by the diverse base of education, business and industry. Places Rated Almanac – Millennium Edition rates Knoxville as “The Number One Best Place to Live” for cities under one million population.
Knoxville is one of the hardest sections of the country in which to predict the weather. There is a topographical reason for Knoxville’s gentle climate. The Cumberland Plateau and Great Smoky Mountains shelter the Tennessee Valley, providing an annual average temperature of 56 degrees. Knoxville experiences all four seasons with vivid colors in the spring and fall. Extended periods of extreme heat or cold are rare.
Knoxville and vicinity, at approximately 936 feet elevation, lies between the Cumberland plateau ( 3,000 feet high) and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (6,642 feet at the highest point). This terrain helps the climate be diverse and interesting. Knoxville’s latitude of 36.0 enables the area to enjoy the four seasons. Winter in the Valley is primarily from January to Mid-February with occasional snowfall of 1 to 3 inches.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Evidence exists that as long as 15,000 years ago, Indians might have inhabited the Great Smoky Mountains. The highly civilized Cherokee Indians were hunting, farming and living in the foothills when the first Europeans arrived in the late 1500’s. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the first of its kind, was authorized in 1934 and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The park has since grown to its current size; 510,030 acres of beautiful ridges, hollows, river gorges, and coves. Some of the richest and most diversified plant life in the United States, as well as the largest stand of virgin timber east of the Mississippi, are incorporated within its scenic beauty. This most visited national park hosts more than 10 million visitors annually and is only 45 minutes from Knoxville.
CADES COVE: The quiet beauty of this famous cove provides the best wildlife viewing within the park area. The visitor today can view the landmarks of this early settlement from the 11-mile loop road that circles the western boundaries of the cove. The first settlers arrived in 1819 and by 1850, 132 families inhabited the cove. Today, evidence of these early settlers can be seen in the log structures, churches and church cemeteries that they left behind. Movie watchers will remember cove scenes from “Walk in the Spring Rain”, “Christy” and “The Dollmaker”. VIEW PHOTOS AND VIDEO
Knoxville lies in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Mountains. The mountains provide Knoxvillians with beautiful national and state parks that have an abundance of recreational activities to choose from.
Knoxville is centrally located in the eastern United States. Knoxville is the hub for three major interstates, I-40 from North Carolina to California, I-75 from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and I-81 from Canada to Knoxville. More than 60 million Americans are within a day’s drive of Knoxville.
There is no state income tax on wages and salaries in Tennessee. However, the Hall Income Tax defines certain dividends and interests which are taxed.
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY
T.V.A. electric rates are among the lowest in the country for both residential and industrial customers. T.V.A. provides power for most of Tennessee and portions of six other states. The agency operates 3 nuclear plants (one additional plant is in the licensing stage), 11 fossil plants, 29 hydro-electric facilities, 6 combustion-turbine facilities, 1 pumped storage plant, 16 solar sites, 1 wind-energy site, and 1 methane gas facility. For information contact the TVA Library 865-632-3464. T.V.A., In addition to power generation, is involved in economic and community development, conservation and controlled use of natural resources, navigational and flood control, improvement of agricultural techniques and national research and development of fertilizers. The organization is the largest federal agency in Knoxville. It has about 12,600 employees throughout the valley and 1,400 in Knoxville. T.V.A. maintains other major offices in Nashville, Chattanooga and Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
A progressive, innovative school system responds to the public educational needs of over 56,000 students in Knoxville and Knox County. The Knoxville area gives top priority to the education of its young citizens and focuses on their development into responsible, contributing adults. The scope and depth of the educational programs offered by the Knox County School System reveals the basic belief in individualized learning. Advanced academic programs for the gifted, as well as special programs suited to the academically disadvantaged and physically handicapped are offered.
The University of Tennessee was the first co-educational institution of higher learning in the state and continues as the hub of higher education today. Chartered in 1794 as Blount College, a land grant institution, the college officially became the University of Tennessee in 1879. The main campus at Knoxville heads a state-wide university system offering 415 degree programs at the bachelors, masters and doctorate levels. The Knoxville campus recently targeted its enrollment limitations at 27,000 students. The main campus, off Cumberland Avenue, is a 550 acre complex composed of some 220 buildings.
The Knoxville campus offers degree work in agriculture, business administration, communications, education, engineering, home economics, law and liberal arts. Recent campus additions include a new $16 million school of veterinary medicine, an $8 million Walters Life Science building, the $2 million School of nursing, and $8 million art and architecture building. The schools of health, physical education and recreation, plus the division of continuing education, are also located on the Knoxville campus. Popular specialized programs include the center for extended learning, non-credit and off-campus programs, workshops and university evening school. The University of Tennessee is a recognized leader in energy research and development. The University is a partner with the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in promoting joint energy research for the industrial and economic development of the area. The University of Tennessee is also developing a cancer research center.
Pellissippi State is a Tennessee Board of Regents college accredited by the Commission of the southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The college has a main campus located on 144 acres in the scenic foothills of West Knoxville. It offers a wide variety of career / technical and college transfer associate degree programs and a comprehensive liberal arts program.
MEDICAL AND RELATED SERVICES
Knoxville has become an important center for health care, medical education and research. Knoxville’s eight major medical facilities are extending their services and expanding their facilities.
Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee and St. Mary’s health systems have merged as Tennova Healthcare. The Tennova Healthcare organization represents six acute care hospitals and several outpatient centers, as well as centers for cancer treatment, women’s health, fitness, surgery, rehabilitation, hospice and home care. The acute care hospitals include: Physicians Regional Medical Center, Turkey Creek Medical Center, North Knoxville Medical Center, Jefferson Memorial Hospital, Lafollette Medical, and Newport Medical Center.
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center (575 beds) includes not only the Presbyterian hospital facility, but the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. The complex is also a pioneer in community fitness programs through its Center for Community Health, providing programs to business and industry which include health-risk appraisal and lifestyle analysis. The Thompson Cancer Survival Center is adjacent to the main facility; and an outpatient center is currently being built in West Knoxville.
Park West Medical Center is affiliated with Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Its services include a psychiatric unit and the state’s first lithotripter, an electronic kidney stone crusher. The full service, general acute care facility is located in the middle of fast growing West Knoxville.
The University of Tennessee Memorial Research Center (602 beds) is nationally recognized for its research programs in heart disease, cancer, birth defects and mental retardation. A pediatric center, intensive-care newborn nursery, and organ transplant center are among the most recent additions to the expanding services. University hospital is the only teaching hospital in the area providing continuing education for physicians. The University Of Tennessee Memorial Research Center is also a general hospital facility.
East Tennessee Children’s Hospital meets the special needs of the young. The hospital (122 beds) has received well-earned national recognition for its patient-education program.
A marvelous surprise is in store for newcomers to the Tennessee Valley in the depth and breadth of native artistic talent, and the opportunity to enjoy the many and varied cultural activities offered in the Knoxville area. The cultural atmosphere of Knoxville is characterized by high levels of professional achievement, excellent facilities, great variety, community support, and pride in its performing arts programs. The presence of a great university always provides the cultural stimulus in the surrounding area.
While the University assumes leadership for local cultural endeavors; by no means is it relied upon exclusively for the surprisingly rich and varied cultural milieu of Knoxville. When discussing serious music in the Knoxville area, we must begin with The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, The Knoxville Opera Company, The Appalachian Opera Company, The Appalachian Ballet Company, The Civic Center Series, The Tennessee Theatre, The Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble, The Knoxville Museum of Art, The Dogwood Arts Festival, The Beck Cultural Exchange Center, and numerous area museums.
The Knoxville Zoological Park is located on about 120 acres off Magnolia Avenue and has more than 1200 animals. It is one of the 71 zoos, out of 470 in the U.S. and Canada, accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums.
In this area the old and the new blend in beautiful union. The area is also rich in native heritage and is enriched by the cultural diversity added by our adopted citizens who have come from other parts of the country, and the world, to call Knoxville “home”.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is within a short drive of Knoxville. In this area artists are found working at their crafts of weaving, furniture construction, pottery, painting, basket weaving, quilt making, etc.
Part of the good life, enjoyed by the people of the Knoxville area, stems from the abundant recreational and leisure opportunities afforded by the geographic setting. Located in the heart of the Tennessee Valley, we are in the midst of one of the most scenic areas of the Eastern United States. Surrounded by TVA lakes and the Great Smoky Mountains, one can easily spend a day on the lake, or in the mountains, and be home by evening.
RECREATION ON THE AREA LAKES
Initially the T.V.A. System was designed for navigation, flood control, generation of electricity, and reforesting. Now, a wide range of recreational activities has become an additional facet of resource management. Five of the “Great Lakes of the South” are within 30 miles of Knoxville. Fort Loudon Lake is a feature of Knoxville with homes along both the north and south shorelines.
The more than 15 reservoirs within an easy drive offer the best in sport fishing. Muskie and hybrid striped bass are the heavy-weights. Bass fishing is superb in both the spring and fall. Crappie and perch dominate the summer fun. Our sparkling lakes and streams are known for fine trout fishing.
Area lakes provide over 3,000 miles of shoreline for a wide variety of recreational activities; including picnicking, sail and power boating, swimming and camping. The great thrill of whitewater rafting is available for the skilled or the amateur on the Nolichucky, French Broad and Ocoee rivers. Within a short distance of Knoxville, there are a number of rated whitewater rivers.
Over a dozen golf courses in the immediate Knoxville area provide the week-end golfer with excellent golfing facilities. Thousands play regularly at several private tennis clubs and city/county owned courses. Many public and private pools, as well as the University of Tennessee student aquatic center, afford cool relief from the summer heat.
“It’s football time in Tennessee” is the cry as 102,000 fans gather at Neyland Stadium to cheer on the Vols. Local supporters also cheer onto victory many Knoxville Interscholastic high school teams or one of the city/county recreational teams. Knoxville’s enthusiasm for sports is year round. The second largest crowd in the nation gathers to watch the University of Tennessee play some of the finest teams in America. On a crisp fall day, Neyland Stadium is a magnificent setting with “The Vol Navy”, a flotilla of private power boats docked adjacent to the stadium. Fans arrive in every conceivable way, boats, train, van and RVs to enjoy picnics, exciting football, and an evening of entertainment.