Loudon County is one of the youngest and geographically smallest counties. The history surrounding Loudon County relates to the name and creation of the county. In 1756, the English erected Fort Loudon on the southern bank of Little Tennessee River, near the mouth of the Tellico River. The fort’s primary purpose was to protect settlers from French and Indian attacks. On June 2, 1870, the General Assembly created Christiana County from Monroe, Blount, and Roane, but a few weeks later the name was changed in honor of the nearby Fort Loudon.
Fort Loudon was named after John Campbell, the fourth Earl of Loudon, who was commander of the English forces in America at the outbreak of the French and Indian War. While Fort Loudon’s actual site is in Monroe County, Loudon County had its own near the present Lenoir City. Fort Grainger was built by William Blount, and was named after his wife, Mary Grainger Blount.
The act establishing the county was the first ever for Governor D.W.C. Senter. In August 1870, the first county officers were chosen. The Baptist Church in Loudon became the temporary building of the county court. J.W. Clark & brothers built the new county court building in 1872. The Loudon County Court House is still being used today, and has been placed on the National Register of historic Buildings.
The Overhill Cherokee Indians were the first settlers of the 240 square mile Loudon County. The Cherokees built their villages on the banks of the Tennessee and Little Tennessee Rivers. The English soldiers built their camps on the opposite side of the Indian Settlement.
Lenoir City originated from lands owned by General William Lenoir. As a reward for his services during the Revolutionary War, the state of North Carolina awarded Lenoir 5,000 acres located along the northern bank of the Tennessee River. The land remained in the Lenoir family until 1876.
Loudon County offers much in the way of relaxation. Fishing is a key business in the area, as is camping and other outdoor pursuits. The county’s natural resources offer unique business opportunities as well. Its soil is similar in content to that in California’s Napa Valley, and so the county was home to wineries throughout the 19th century, and that industry recently has taken hold in the county again with the Tennessee Valley Winery, which produces wines made from grapes grown both on its lands and brought in from other regions.
Today, Loudon County is an emerging economic force in the East Tennessee Region. Loudon County had a 30% increase in population from 2000-2010. Most of this population growth was centered in the Knoxville-Lenoir City corridor. Each year, Loudon County is also experiencing a significant amount of new commercial and industrial development. Currently over sixty manufacturing plants call Loudon County Home. The key is due to the success of its location, favorable business climate, abundance of reasonable electricity, good selection of industrial properties, and especially, its highly productive labor force.
Golfers will want to play on one or all of Loudon County’s beautiful courses. The courses are open year round for your enjoyment. Our lakes are popular places for fishing tournaments as well as a relaxing day of personal enjoyment.
Loudon County has a technologically prepared workforce for the 21st Century. We offer excellent public and private schools, training and retraining programs, and secondary education opportunities. There are 7 four-year colleges and universities, and 6 two-year institutions in the upper East Tennessee region.
Loudon County has 2 school districts – Lenoir City and Loudon School Districts. Both school districts have developed curriculum to prepare students for immediate entry into the work force. The school districts have worked together to develop an innovative program called “Education Edge.” This program is designed to increase academic achievement in various subjects including math, science, and English. It includes asking every student, regardless of whether he or she is college bound, to pursue a challenging academic curriculum and meet high standards. Education Edge links learning to its application in the “real world” of work through career development at each level of schooling.
The Lenoir City School System was organized in 1907, and has been a separate school system since the city was chartered. It consists of an elementary school (grades K-5), a middle school (grades 6-8), and a high school (grades 9-12). The system is governed by a five-member school board, which is elected by the general population. The citizens of Lenoir City take great pride in their school system and have made a commitment toward excellence. Lenoir City was the first municipality in the state of Tennessee to levy local sales tax for educational purposes. The new elementary facility was built in 1987 and received the School Architectural Award of Tennessee as well as the Loudon County Beautification Award. The middle school moved into a new building in 1990, which won the TSA School of the year Award. Pre-planning is now underway for the renovation and enlargement of the Lenoir City High School. A primary goal is developing a facility, which will be state of the art for the future. The Lenoir City School System has strong academic, technology, fine arts, vocational, and athletic programs.
Loudon County’s School District is comprised of 10 different schools. It is the largest public school system in the county. All graduating seniors must take the Tennessee Proficiency Test in order to receive a diploma. Due to its quality learning environment, the School District has been recognized as an “Education of Excellence Community.” Currently, over 50% of the teaching staff has at least a Master’s degree.
Highland Hills Christian Academy provides students with academic excellence in a caring Christian environment. The school strives to be an extension of the Christian home, reinforcing critical moral values in its students, which will enable them to make a positive contribution to our society. The Academy offers college prep classes at the secondary level and A Beka Christian curriculum at the elementary level.
Spring welcomes the annual Dogwood Festival, wine festivals, wagon trains and horse shows. Summer months kick off the popular Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival, followed by the July 4th Celebrations, Smoky Mountain Fiddlers Convention, Arts & Crafts Show, and the Mulberry Antique Show held in historic downtown Loudon. Fall ushers in the October Fest which draws visitors from the entire region. Winter rings in the holiday celebrated by the Christmas parade, festivals and historic home tours.
It’s no wonder that Loudon County is touted as the Gateway to the Smokies, with several lakes and rivers embracing and enhancing the county, including Ft. Loudon, Tellico, Melton Hill, and Watts Bar Lakes. The community is a playground for water sports of all types, such as boating, fishing, and skiing. Other sports enthusiasts might enjoy the local archery range of one of the seven golf courses within the area.
Loudon County can be your headquarters for all kinds of land and water expeditions. Gatlinburg and The Great Smoky Mountains are just about an hour away to the east. The “Energy City” Oak Ridge and the Museum of Appalachian in Norris are less than an hour away to the north. Fort Loudon is 30 minutes to the south. You can even go by boat to the Gulf of Mexico.