Knoxville has been the social, commercial and cultural center of a unique region of the American South since 1791. First it was a fortified outpost, capital of the Southwest Territory and later of the state of Tennessee.
The city furnished the political and intellectual leadership for Unionist East Tennessee when the region struggled to remain loyal to the United States at the time of the Civil War. The contending armies made this strategic railroad center a battlefield during the sectional conflict.
After the Civil War, Knoxville boomed as its entrepreneurs exploited the mineral and forest resources of the surrounding mountains and its great merchants built a large wholesale trade in Southern Appalachia.
In the twentieth centry, the development of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the atomic complex at nearby Oak Ridge, together with the phenomenal growth of the University of Tennessee, have given the city a new dimension.
From "Heart of the Valley: A History of Knoxville, Tennessee" by the Knoxville History Committee of the East Tennessee Historical Society, edited by Lucile Deaderick.
Stats & Facts
2003 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau:
City of Knoxville - 173,278
Knox County - 392,995
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - 712,366
The 10 largest manufacturers in the Knoxville MSA:
Denso Manufacturing Tennessee -2,300
Clayton Homes - 2,023
Aluminum Co. of America (ALCOA) - 2,000
Sea Ray Boats - 1,686
DeRoyal Industries - 905
Kimberly-Clark Corp. - 852
ARC Automotive - 650
Rubbermaid Home Products - 600
Knoxville News-Sentinel - 584
Monterey Mushrooms - 550
The 10 largest employers in the Knoxville MSA.
U.S. Department of Energy (Oak Ridge Operations) - 11,287
Covenant Health - 8,000
University of Tennessee - 7,934
Knox County Schools - 7,848
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. - 4,600
St. Mary's Health System - 3,461
Baptist Health System of East Tennessee - 3,000
City of Knoxville - 2,858 (1,500 full-time)
Univ. of Tennessee Medical Center (Univ. Health System) - 2,764
Knox County Government - 2,500
Tennessee, state in the south-central United States. It is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia (N), North Carolina (E), Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi (S), and, across the Mississippi R., Arkansas and Missouri (W).
Area, 42,244 sq mi (109,412 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 5,689,283, a 16.7% increase since the 1990 census.
Largest city, Memphis.
Motto, Agriculture and Commerce.
State bird, mockingbird.
State flower, iris.
State tree, tulip poplar.
West Tennessee, with its rich river-bottom lands, on which most of the state's cotton is grown, lies between the Tennessee and the Mississippi rivers. The average annual rainfall ranges from 40 to 50 in. (101.6-127 cm), and the climate ranges from humid continental in the north of the state to humid subtropical in the south; the rigors of a northern winter usually affect only the most mountainous parts of East Tennessee. Twenty-three state parks, covering some 132,000 acres (53,420 hectares) as well as parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are in Tennessee.
The state also has many sites of historic interest, including the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson; the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site; Shiloh National Military Park; and Fort Donelson and Stones River national battlefields. Part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is also in Tennessee. The Natchez Trace National Parkway generally follows the old Natchez Trace. Nashville is the capital and the second largest city. The largest city is Memphis.
Although Tennessee is now primarily industrial, with most of its people residing in urban areas, many Tennesseans still derive their livelihood from the land. The state's leading crops are cotton, soybeans, and tobacco; cattle, dairy products, and hogs are also principal farm commodities. Tennessee's leading mineral, in dollar value, is stone; zinc ranks second (Tennessee leads the nation in its production). Industry is being continually diversified; the state's leading manufactures are chemicals and related products, foods, electrical machinery, primary metals, automobiles, textiles and apparel, and stone, clay, and glass items. Aluminum production has been important since World War I.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003