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Knoxville, TN

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Header -City of Knoxville | Facts and Tourist Information

Facts and Information About
the City of Knoxville Tennessee

Tourist and Visitor Information:

Knoxville, Tennessee is known as one of the most beautiful and scenic cities in the United States. Knoxvillians have access to majestic mountain top views from the Smoky Mountains, along with an abundance of scenic waterways and rivers that provide lots of outdoor recreational activities including hiking, boating, camping and cycling.

The city of Knoxville is situated at the headwaters of the Tennessee River where the French Broad and the Holston Rivers converge, and lies in a scenic valley in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberlands.

Voted as one of the best small cities to live in the U.S., more than 60 million Americans are within a day's drive of Knoxville. The city is the hub for three major interstates, making it easy to get to from all areas of the country. I-40 runs from North Carolina to California, I-75 from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and I-81 from Canada to Knoxville.

Located in Knox County, it is the county seat, and the third largest city in Tennessee. Knoxville's population from the latest census is approximately 180,000 and covers about 93 square miles.

The city of Knoxville is the home of the University of Tennessee. In addition to being a premier educational facility in the Southeast, the University's National championship UT sports teams draw thousands of enthusiasts to football and basketball games in the fall of each year and the area becomes a virtual sea of orange. Fans of The Tennessee Volunteers football team will fill Neyland Stadium, (the second largest in the United States), and The Lady Volunteers Basketball team almost always nationally ranked are exciting and have a great following.

The Tennessee Smokies provide class AA professional baseball for East Tennesseans, while the Knoxville Ice Bears bring minor league hockey to local fans.

Knoxville/Knox County has approximately 5,723 acres of park and recreation space, including 27 recreation centers, six senior citizen centers, 144 playgrounds and parks, 103 tennis courts, 10 public golf courses, and over 60 miles of greenways and walking trails.

Special seasonal events include the Dogwood Arts Festival in the spring, Sundown in the City in the summer, Boomsday in the fall, and Christmas In The City in December.

Knoxvillians and visitors alike enjoy the beauty and leisure activities that can be found nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With over 9.2 million visitors annually, it is the country’s most visited national park. There are also numerous state parks, lakes, and resorts within short driving distances making it one of the best boating and fishing areas in the U.S..

A Bit of History about the city of Knoxville:

Late in the 18th century, General James White established White's Fort settlement at the junction of the French Broad river and the Holston. The settlement was later renamed for George Washington's secretary of war, Henry Knox., hence the name Knoxville.

In 1792, Blount Mansion, was built to accommodate the governor of the vast territory south of the Ohio river known by the Cherokee Indians as "Tennessee". This was the first frame bouse built west of the Appalachians, and remains, as a National Historic Landmark. A reconstruction of the James White's Fort on land near its original site serves as a tourist attraction to visitors of Knoxville.

In 1796, this territory became the state of Tennessee, and Knoxville was selected as 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. Tom Emmerson served as the first mayor of Knoxville and was elected in 1816. The first official census, taken in 1850, listed Knoxville's population at 2,076.

During the Civil War, the city of Knoxville was considered an important and strategic point for both the Union and Confederate forces. The War found sympathies of Knoxville inhabitants divided. Several battles were fought in the area including, the battle of Campbell's Station, November 16, 1863 and on November 29, 1863 at Fort Sanders. The Seige of Knoxville followed and was an important victory for the Union forces.

In 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority, was founded and headquarted in Knoxville by the U.S. government and began an enormous project to transform the entire valley with flood control and power generating dams on the Tennessee River. Four of the largest dams of the Tennessee Valley Authority stand within 30 miles of the city. This opened up a lot of economic opportunities due to the availability of low cost electric power for manufacturing facilities.

Another event of great significance for the Knoxville area occurred during World War II. A "Secret City" was built about 20 miles west of Knoxville, and the village of Oak Ridge was chosen as the site of "The Manhattan Project".

The atomic bomb, modern history's most closely guarded secret... which successfully ended the war was developed there, and Knoxville became . . and still is the metropolitan seat of nuclear power generation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

In 1976, Knoxville business leaders and government officials began planning for hosting the 1982 World's Fair. The Sunsphere, a local landmark was built for it, and the fair attracted more than 11 million visitors to the city of Knoxville. Twenty-two countries and more than 90 corporations participated in the exposition, making it one of the most successful and popular.

Knoxville Attractions:

When visiting Knoxville, the main tourist information center in the city is the Knoxville Visitor Center along One Vision Plaza. Here you can get tourism brochures, leaflets, travel timetables, booking services and all the information you'll need to visit attractions in and around downtown Knoxville, The Old City, World's Fair Park and the University of Tennessee.

Knoxville popular tourist attractions include James White's Fort – the historic fort once home of Knoxville’s founder, General James White; Blount Mansion – Knoxville's National Historical Landmark, containing exquisite furnishings and antiques; Ramsey House Plantation, reputed to be Tennessee’s first stone house; Knoxville’s Alex Haley Statue – an eye-catching giant bronze statue of Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Haley; Crescent Bend - an 18th-century farm, with landscaped Italian gardens and fountains.

Take a Phototour of Knoxville in Pictures Click Here Tour Knoxville TN Pictures and Photos

Other attractions to visit are Ijams Nature Center – a scenic environmental park located on the Tennessee River banks; Knoxville Zoological Gardens – containing over 800 animals including educational information about the species; the Knoxville Sunsphere – located in World's Fair Park, where you can see panoramic views of Knoxville from the observation decks; and Neyland Stadium - home ot the Tennessee Volunteers football team and a part of the University of Tennessee campus,

Some of the top museums and art galleries in Knoxville include Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, with memorabilia and game information; East Tennessee Discovery Center – a popular science center with educational exhibits; Knoxville’s Museum of Appalachia – dedicated to the history of Appalachian life; the University of Tennessee Football Hall of Fame – celebrating over 100 years of football; the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) a modern building containing five separate galleries; and Knoxville’s Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture – focusing on modern art and architecture.


The city of Knoxville has been rated as one of the top 10 US destinations to stretch your vacation dollars by the Hotwire Travel Value Index. Visitors will find a variety of bargains in low cost lodging, accommodations, historic, cultural and scenic attractions, and affordable entertainment.

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Famous Knoxvillians:

Here's a small listing of some famous people who were born in Knoxville, or have called Knoxville their home.

*James Agee, author of A Death in the Family
* Victor Ashe, former mayor, US ambassador to Poland
* Ava Barber, country music artist, featured performer from The Lawrence Welk Show
* Brian Bell, guitarist for the band Weezer
* Polly Bergen, the Pepsi-Cola girl
* Ben Bolt, guitarist, composer
* Kenny Chesney country music artist
* Mary Costa, opera singer, voice of Disney's Sleeping Beauty
* John Cullum, Tony Award winning actor and singer
* Lowell Cunningham, Men in Black creator
* David Farragut, Civil War admiral
* Nikki Giovanni, poet
* Todd Helton, baseball player
* Dennis Hwang, graphic artist for Google
* Kane, professional wrestler
* David Keith, actor
* Johnny Knoxville, actor
* Brownie McGhee, blues musician
* Patricia Neal, actress
* Randy Orton,professional wrestler
* Chad Pennington, football player (quarterback for the New York Jets)
* Dr. Jerry Punch, ESPN Analyst
* Brad Renfro, actor
* Quentin Tarantino, film director (birthplace)
* Jake Thomas, actor
* Bob Thomas, actor, radio announcer, writer
To learn more about these famous Knoxville people , click here

Famous non-native residents include:

* Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden
* Jake Butcher, Banker; organized 1982 World's Fair, later plead guilty to fraud.
* Alex Haley, author of Roots
* Cormac McCarthy
* Pat Summitt, Head Coach, Tennessee Lady Vols Basketball Team
* Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's

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