Knoxville: Recreation

views updated Jun 11 2018

Knoxville: Recreation


A good place to begin a tour of Knoxville is at Volunteer Landing on the riverfront, the site of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, which recounts the first 100 years of women's basketball, and the new Gateway Regional Visitor Center, 500,000 square feet of total space showcasing information about the scenic beauty surrounding Knoxville. In the four-county Knoxville area are hundreds of thousands of acres of parks and recreational space, including 800 miles of forests, 800 square miles of trout streams, and seven major Tennessee Valley Authority lakes that provide more than 11,000 miles of shoreline and 1,000 square miles of water surface. Knoxville itself boasts the east-side Chilhowee Park and Tyson Park in the University of Tennessee at Knoxville area, and the Ijams Nature Center, a non-profit regional environmental education center located minutes from downtown Knoxville. A raptor center and snapping turtle exhibit were added in 2004.

Much of Knoxville's outdoor and tourism activity centers around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America's most visited national preserve, with more than nine million visitors annually. The Smokieslocated 45 minutes from downtown Knoxville and skirted by Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Townsendprovide both active and passive recreation. The park boasts 800 square miles, 95 percent of which is forested, including 20 percent old-growth forest; 700 miles of trout streams; and more than 800 miles of trails.

Many more miles of trails and trout streams are found in Cherokee National Forest, an hour's drive south of Knoxville. Five whitewater rivers flow through Cherokee National Forest's 640,000 acres. Commercial outfitters will rent equipment or provide guided trips on some of the rivers. There are five state parks located nearby: Big Ridge State Park, Cove Lake State Park, Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area, Norris Dam State Park, and Panther Creek State Park.

The area's lakes, known as the Great Lakes of the South, are a major source of pleasure to residents and visitors. They include Norris Lake to the north, recognized nationwide for its striper fishing, and Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, known for its world-class rowing conditions. The climate stays warm from May through September, and water skiing, sailing, and swimming are popular pastimes.

The site of the 1982 World's Fair has developed into a permanent recreation area in the heart of the city. The 266 foot-tall Sunsphere is still within the park, and is Knoxville's unofficial symbol. Visitors can take in a 365-degree view of Knoxville from 26 stories up on the observation deck of the Sunsphere.

Historical homes are also popular with sightseers. Among the best known in Knoxville are the Armstrong-Lockett House (often called Crescent Bend because of its location in a bend of the Tennessee River), a stately mansion built in 1834 as the centerpiece of a 600-acre farm; Blount Mansion, the oldest frame house west of the Allegheny Mountains (it was built in 1792 by Governor William Blount); the Craighead-Jackson House, a brick home built in 1812 adjacent to Blount Mansion; and Ramsey House, a two-story stone structure built in 1797. James White's Fort, Knox-ville's most visited historic site, is still standing on a bluff high above the Tennessee River near downtown; seven log cabins now house pioneer artifacts and furnishings, giving a glimpse into regional life of the past.

Built in 1858, Mabry-Hazen House retains its original furniture. The site is on eight acres atop the highest hill north of the Holston River. It was once a fortfirst for Confederate soldiers and then for Union troops. Mark Twain memorialized the home's builder, Joseph A. Mabry, Jr., in Life on the Mississippi. The second generation to live in the house was fictionalized in the best seller Christy, and the third and last generation at Mabry-Hazen House was featured in Life Magazine.

With more than 800 exotic animals, many in their natural habitats, including gorillas, red pandas, and rhinos, the Knoxville Zoological Park is full of family fun, adventure, and learning. The zoo is nationally known for its work with red pandas (it has the highest birth rate of red pandas in the Western Hemisphere), white rhinoceroses, and reptiles. Popular exhibits include Gorilla Valley, Penguin Rock, North American River Otters, and the Birds of Central America Aviary. Special attractions include the Bird Show, featuring free-flying birds of prey, and camel rides, elephant encounters, and a children's petting zoo. The zoo's Kid's Cove, a fun environment designed for children, is scheduled to open in April of 2005; an elephant preserve and African grasslands exhibit opened in 2002, and a meerkat exhibit opened in 2003.

The historic Candy Factory Building was built circa 1917. There visitors can see chocolatiers at work at the South's Finest Chocolate Factory, which features more than 100 candies made and sold on the site. Nearby, visitors will encounter a row of beautifully restored Victorian houses. These quaint, brightly hued dwellings were built in the 1920s and are now home to antique and curiosity shops as well as studios and art galleries.

Arts and Culture

Organizations like the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville support an active arts community. The Tennessee Amphitheater, located in World's Fair Park, is a popular venue and is used for numerous free concerts and productions sponsored by the city of Knoxville and private groups. The Oak Ridge Art Center is also a boon for the cultural climate of the region. It has a studio and a gift shop and displays both local and traveling artists' and photographers' exhibits. Classes are offered in such artistic endeavors as pottery, oil painting, watercolor, drawing, and sculpture.

Knoxville boasts two symphony orchestras: the world-class Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) and the Knoxville Chamber Orchestra. KSO, established in 1935, plays several concerts a year to sold-out houses at the magnificent Tennessee Theatre, which reopened in January of 2005 following an extensive $23.5 million restoration, and at the Civic Auditorium/Coliseum. The orchestra's core group also makes up the Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, which was founded in 1981 and performs a five-concert series in the historic Bijou Theatre.

The Knoxville Opera Company, which has achieved a position of prominence among American opera companies, produces several major operas annually. The Civic Music Association brings internationally known musicians to Oak Ridge; their performances alternate with concerts by the Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus, composed of local musicians and with full-time professional directors.

A variety of dance forms are presented to Knoxville audiences by the Appalachian Ballet Company, Circle Modern Dance Company, the City Ballet, and the internationally acclaimed Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble.

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Maryville College also serve as cultural centers for the region. UT's Department of Theatre is committed to providing drama education and exposure to outstanding theatrical productionsboth to university students seeking a career in theater and to East Tennessee audiences desiring quality dramatic fare. The Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre, the Music Hall, and the Clarence Brown Theatre present musical, comedies, dramas and dance performances. Maryville College supports a Playhouse and College-Community Orchestra series.

The Knoxville Civic Auditorium/Coliseum brings to the area the best in professional traveling companies presenting Broadway hits. Local residents can not only view fine theater but also are encouraged to participate at the Oak Ridge Community Playhouse. The playhouse has a full-time professional director and offers a full season of plays and musicals.

Highlighting the history of the Knoxville region are many excellent museums and historic sites. The history of the entire area is the focus at the Museum of East Tennessee History, housed at the East Tennessee Historical Center along with the public library's McClung Historical Collection and the Knox County Archives. The Museum, Historical Collection, and Archives will double in size upon the completion of a $20 million expansion in 2005. African American history and culture reaching as far back as the 1840s is chronicled at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center in downtown Knoxville. Confederate Memorial Hall, an antebellum mansion that once served as General Longstreet's headquarters during the siege of Knoxville, is now a museum that houses artifacts, documents, and furniture of the Civil War era. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville's McClung Museum highlights collections of history, anthropology, archaeology, natural history, science, fine arts, and furnishings.

The Knoxville Museum of Art is a dynamic institution providing exciting exhibitions from the surrounding region, the country, and the world. This state-of-the-art facility, located in downtown Knoxville's World's Fair Park, presents an average of 20 traveling exhibitions annually in its five galleries; its permanent collection is drawn from American art of the twentieth century and later. The Arts Council of Greater Knoxville sponsors exhibits and varied galleries at the Candy Factory at World's Fair Park, at the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture, and at the Joseph B. Wolffe Sculpture Gallery. The University of Tennessee Gallery Concourse focuses on the work of local, regional, and national artists.

To the north of Knoxville, Oak Ridge lures visitors with its American Museum of Science and Energy. One of the world's largest energy exhibitions, it features interactive displays, live demonstrations, computer games, and films for all ages.

In nearby Norris, the Museum of Appalachia offers the most authentic and complete documentation of the Appalachian way of life in the world. The museum houses one of the nation's largest collections of pioneer, country, mountain, and contemporary artifacts such as baskets, coverlets, quilts, early animal traps, thousands of tools, and early musical instruments. Enhancing the main display are 35 other authentic log structureshouses, cabins, a school, a church, and barnsall fully furnished with period relics.

Festivals and Holidays

Knoxville presents a variety of popular seasonal activities for residents and visitors. The 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival in April offers more than 350 events. The Dogwood Arts Festival is the largest civic celebration in North America, with more than 8,000 volunteers helping with its staging. This nationally renowned festival includes craft shows, concerts and sporting events, and features 500 miles of marked motor trails in Knoxville to showcase the abundant spring blossoms on the dogwood trees. The Bearden Festival of Art is the newest Festival event. Visitors can enjoy the galleries, shops, and restaurants of Bearden Village.

The Tennessee Valley Fair runs for 10 days every September, followed by the Foothills Fall Festival in October, featuring music from local and famous entertainers, arts and crafts, and a Children's Adventure Land. Tennessee Fall Homecoming, also in October, celebrates Appalachian crafts and mountain music. December's Christmas in the City is sponsored jointly by the city of Knoxville and downtown businesses. This two-month long center-city event is a combination of more than 100 activities featuring music, lights, a parade, trees on the rooftops, whimsical window scenes, and memories of Christmases past.

Sports for the Spectator

The Tennessee Smokies provide professional baseball for the area; they play at Smokies Baseball Park, located in Sevierville, Tennessee, just 15 miles from downtown Knoxville. The Knoxville Ice Bears, part of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, play at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Area residents also enthusiastically attend the sporting events of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The 104,079-seat Neyland Stadium on the UT campus is the largest collegiate stadium in the South, and the second largest in the country. The Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena, a 25,000-seat basketball arena, is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Lady Volunteers basketball teams. It also hosts a variety of other community events.

Sports for the Participant

Knoxville city and county parks contain more than 5,700 acres of parks and recreational space. Facilities include 144 playgrounds; 103 tennis courts, including some of the finest facilities in the South at Tyson Park, located just minutes from downtown Knoxville; 20 public golf courses; 27 recreation centers; numerous ball fields; and a variety of country clubs and indoor commercial recreation establishments. At Volunteer Landing Marina, watercraft including houseboats, pontoons, paddleboats, and aqua-cycles can be rented. In March 2005 Knoxville will host its first Knoxville Marathon, a 26.2-mile run beginning at World's Fair Park and ending at UT's Neyland Stadium.

Shopping and Dining

Knoxville boasts three large shopping malls, Knoxville Center, Simpson Enterprises, and West Town Mall, and more than two dozen other shopping centers. In the downtown area, there are several areas of retail activity, including Market Square Mall. Knoxville's historic downtown warehouse district, called The Old City, is a bustling area of dining, shopping, and entertainment nestled in restored nineteenth-century brick warehouses. Near the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus, Cumberland Avenue is noted for its shops.

Visitors and residents alike can sample a broad array of foods at Knoxville-area dining establishments. Barbecue and country-style cooking are especially popular, but other choices abound, among them continental cuisine and ethnic specialties such as Greek, Italian, Mexican, and Asian.

Visitor Information: Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 301 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37920, telephone (865)523-7263 or (800)727-8045

Knoxville: Economy

views updated Jun 11 2018

Knoxville: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

The stable economy of the Greater Knoxville Area is one of the region's major assets. It is highly diversified with no one employment sector accounting for more than 22 percent of the area's total employment. Recent years have seen substantial growth in the areas of trade, transportation, utilities, and financial activities.

Knoxville's economy is bolstered by the presence of the Tennessee Valley Authority headquarters and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Added benefits accrue with the location of ORNL, a major U.S. Department of Energy facility, in nearby Oak Ridge. Scientists and engineers at ORNL labs do research and development work to bring scientific knowledge and technological solutions that strengthen U.S. leadership in the area of science; increase the availability of clean energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security. These institutions provide unlimited education and training opportunities for area businesses and are active in a cooperative technology transfer program that has successfully spawned many spin-off companies. The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) project, based in Oak Ridge, is scheduled for completion in mid 2006. SNS development is carried out by collaboration of six national laboratories, and is based at an 80-acre site at ORNL. The $1.4 billion project will produce the most powerful pulsed neutron sources in the world for scientific research and industrial development, making the region a world leader in technology. The project is expected to have applications in the areas of chemistry, physics, biology, genetics, semiconductors and aerospace engineering.

As another nurturing aspect of the local business climate, the area features an unusually high number of incubator facilities, particularly in Oak Ridgea city whose roots can be traced to the Manhattan Project of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Through the assistance of the ORNL and University of Tennessee (UT), spin-off companies have been formed. UT, Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, and TVA, have been successful in recruiting national high-technology consortiums. The city itself is very technology-forward, with fiber-optic lines threaded throughout its downtown core. Knoxville Telecommunication infrastructure is a critical factor in the site selection process of relocating companies, and Knoxville's state-of-the-art telecommunications structure has helped the city attract several telemarketing divisions of large corporations.

Another key element in the Greater Knoxville area's economic prosperity is location. Knoxville is at the center of the eastern half of the United States and within one day's drive of three-fourths of the U.S. population. Location is one important reason why many manufacturing businesses have relocated or expanded in the area. In 2004, new or expanding industrial businesses in the Knoxville Metropolitan MSA invested $283,345,000; those investments were made by 4 new businesses and 16 existing companies. Location is also a factor in the area's booming tourism industry, particularly in nearby Sevier County, where approximately 10 million people annually visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Parkthe most visited national park in the United Statesand the many other attractions in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.

Knoxville remains an urban center for mining in the Cumberland range. Zinc and coal mining are carried on in the region. Burley tobacco and a variety of food crops are harvested on farms just outside the city, and livestock and dairy products are also important to the local economy. Knox County ranks fifth in the state of Tennessee for visitor expenditures; in 2001 tourism brought the county $549 million.

Items and goods produced: motor vehicles supplies, manufactured housing, aluminum products, clothing, computer peripherals, electrical equipment, plastics, pleasure boats, processed foods

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Knoxville has a Foreign Trade Zone, is an inland Port of Entry, and has a U.S. Customs Office. The city and county offer sales tax exemptions on new equipment and special revenue bond financing programs. Knox-ville's Jobs Now! campaign, launched in 2003, aims to attract new businesses to the Knoxville area and encourage expansion of local businesses, primarily through marketing, via advertising, trade show exhibitions, distribution of brochures, and calling on prospects. The city of Knoxville and Knox County have been the campaign's biggest backers, with annual contributions of $400,000 each; approximately 200 other backers bring the annual figure to $2 million.

State programs

Tennessee is a right-to-work state and its overall state and local tax burden is among the lowest of all 50 states. Tennessee has no personal income tax on wages or salaries. Finished goods inventories are exempt from personal property tax and industrial machinery is totally exempt from state and local sales taxes. Manufacturers receive other tax exemptions and reduced property assessments under specified circumstances. State-administered financial programs for businesses include: the Small and Minority-Owned Business Assistance Program, currently being developed by the state Treasury Department and expected to provide assistance to small and minority-owned businesses through loans, technical assistance, and program services; the Small Business Energy Loan Program, which helps qualified Tennessee-based businesses upgrade their level of energy efficiency in their buildings and manufacturing processes; the FastTrack Infrastructure Program, which assists in the funding of infrastructure improvements for businesses locating or expanding in Tennessee; and the FastTrack Training Services Program, which helps companies provide training for their staff.

Job training programs

Tennessee's FastTrack Training Services Program is Tennessee's primary source of financial support for new and expanding business and industry training. FastTrack staff work with businesses to plan, develop, and implement customized training programs. Training may be done in a classroom setting, or on the job. The Southeast Tennessee Industrial Training Service provides specialized services at low or no cost to employers, including task and job analysis, training program design and material development, coordination of programs with employee recruitment activities, provision of facilities and equipment for developing specific job skills; and provision of funding. Pellissippi State Technical Community College offers technical programs, and the Knoxville State Area Vocational Technical School offers career-oriented programs.

Development Projects

Knoxville's healthy economy is exemplified by the many renovation and expansion projects underway or recently completed around the city. The newly-expanded Knoxville Convention Center, opened in July of 2002, is a sparkling, technologically-advanced facility boasting a 119,922 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,300 square-foot divisible ballroom, 14 functional meeting rooms seating attendees in theater style, a lecture hall with seating for 461, and three luxury conference rooms. The East Tennessee Historical Center's Museum of East Tennessee History, McClung Historical Collection, and Knox County Archives will double in size upon the completion of a $20 million expansion in 2005. This will bring more exhibit and collection space to the museum; more space for growing number of books, manuscripts, and microfilm of the McClung Historical Collection; and more room for the Knox County Archives' permanent records of historic Knox County. An extensive $23.5 million restoration of the magnificent Tennessee Theatre was completed in January of 2005, returning the 1928 theatre to its former glory. Several new exhibits have opened at the Knoxville Zoological Park in recent years, including an elephant preserve and African grasslands exhibit, both opened in 2002, and a meerkat exhibit opened in 2003; the zoo's Kid's Cove, a fun environment designed for children, is scheduled to open in April of 2005.

Economic Development Information: Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership, 601 West Summit Hill Drive, Suite 300, Knoxville, TN 37902; telephone (865)637-4550

Commercial Shipping

All major air shipments in Knoxville originate out of McGhee Tyson Airport. A new cargo facility was constructed in the early 1990s, more than doubling the airport's cargo capacity. In the fall of 2000, McGhee Tyson Airport completed a $70 million renovation and expansion project of its main terminal and concourses. Rail is another option for those needing to transport freight to and from the Greater Knoxville area. Main rail service is provided by the Norfolk/Southern and the CSX rail systems. Fifty-seven regular-route, common-carrier truck lines have terminals in Knox County. Many irregular routes and special-contract carriers also supply the area with efficient ground freight services.

Because of navigation improvements made by the Tennessee Valley Authority on the Tennessee River system, Knoxville enjoys barge commerce with 21 other states on the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers. This interconnected inland water system runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, allowing shipments on water to such distant points as Houston, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Little Rock.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The Knoxville area labor force is drawn from a nine-county region in eastern Tennessee. The presence of a variety of instructional centers, combined with the city's proximity to key U.S. markets and the state's commitment to nurturing research and development firms, has made Knoxville a considerable force in the world of high-technology industry.

The labor force has one of the lowest turnover and absenteeism rates in the country.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Knoxville metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 355,400

Number of workers employed in. . .

manufacturing: 42,100

trade, transportation and utilities: 74,700

information: 6,300

financial activities: 18,000

professional and business services: 40,400

educational and health services: 37,600

leisure and hospitality: 45,800

other services: 14,800

government: 58,700

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.10

Unemployment rate: 3.3% (December 2004)

Largest employersNumber of employees
Covenant Health8,000
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville7,934
Knox County Public School System7,848
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.4,600
St. Mary's Health System3,461
Baptist Health System of East Tennessee3,000
City of Knoxville2,858
University of Tennessee Medical Center2,764

Cost of Living

Knoxville's overall cost of living, assisted by low taxes and low utility charges, is among the most reasonable in the country. Home buyers everywhere in the Greater Knoxville Area benefit from housing prices that are lower than the national average, as well as low taxes and low utility bills. Electric power rates here are among the lowest in the nation. The Tennessee Valley Authority, a publicly owned utility, is headquartered in Knoxville and generates much of the electrical power used in homes.

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Knoxville area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $192,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 87.8 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Limited to dividends and interest income

State sales tax rate: 7.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 2.25%

Property tax rate: $2.96 per $100 assessed value in Knox County, $3.05 per $100 assessed value in city of Knoxville (2004)

Economic Information: Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership, 601 West Summit Hill Drive, Suite 300, Knoxville, TN 37902; telephone (865)637-4550

Knoxville: History

views updated May 23 2018

Knoxville: History

Settlement Becomes Supply Center

Archaeological evidence suggests that the first humans to live in what is now Knoxville were of the Woodland tribe, a group of hunters and trappers driven south from the Great Lakes region by climatic changes, probably about 1000 B.C. Their simple culture eventually gave way to that of the more sophisticated mound builders, whose influence was felt throughout most of the South. By 1761, the year the first white men were known to have explored Knoxville, the mound builders had been displaced by yet another group of Native Americans, the Cherokee.

Early contacts between the white settlers and the Cherokee were fairly cordial, which encouraged colonial expansion into the land west of the Great Smoky Mountains. In 1783 North Carolina's James White and several friends crossed the mountains in search of a place to stake a claim. White later returned to the area with his family, and in 1786 he became Knoxville's first permanent settler when he built a log cabin on a hill overlooking a stream that fed into the Tennessee River. A peace treaty with the Cherokee sparked additional migration into the region, and soon White's cabin was joined by several others. After the pioneers connected their cabins with a stake fence, the settlement took on the name White's Fort. Because of its strategic location, it quickly began serving as a repair and supply center for westbound wagon trains.

In 1790 William Blount, newly appointed governor of the territory south of the Ohio River and superintendent of Indian affairs for the same region, arrived at White's Fort and established his headquarters there. One of his first tasks was to meet with the Cherokee and establish territorial boundaries; this he accomplished almost immediately, purchasing from the Cherokees much of the East Tennessee Valley and opening the area to even more settlers. In 1791, at Blount's suggestion, streets were laid out around White's Fort and a town was incorporated that the governor named Knoxville in honor of the Secretary of War, Major General Henry Knox. By 1792, Knoxville had become the county seat, and it continued to grow steadily as a trading post. When Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796, Knoxville even served as the state's first capital, a designation it retained until 1812. Despite its political and economic status, Knoxville at the turn of the century was little more than a rowdy village of taverns and smithies that catered to teamsters, flatboatmen, soldiers, and homesteaders on their way west.

City Grows Slowly

Knoxville's first industries were related to its function on the frontier; among the most common were grist mills, sawmills, tanyards, cotton-spinning factories, and wool-carding mills. Because of the transportation difficulties posed by the mountains and unnavigable parts of the Tennessee River, no attempt was made to mine nearby coal, iron, and marble for shipping out of the region. As a result, Knoxville grew rather slowly in comparison with the rest of the state, posting a population of barely more than 2,000 people in 1850. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s promised change, but the advent of the Civil War put a halt to further development.

A majority of east Tennessee citizens were loyal to the Union before and even during the Civil War, and their opposition to secession made Tennessee the last state to join the Confederate States of America. Alarmed at the thought of so many Union sympathizers in a critical border state, the Confederate Army occupied the city from early 1861 until August 1863, shortly before Union troops arrived and established headquarters there. In November of that same year, Confederate troops tried to recapture Knoxville. After a two-week-long siege, they were eventually repulsed, but victory for the Union forces came at a great cost to Knoxvillerailroad shops, factories, virtually all public buildings, and some private homes were either burned to the ground or badly damaged.

The Reconstruction period was a boon to the city as hundreds of former Union soldiers chose to return to Knoxville to settle permanently, bringing with them the business and labor skills so desperately needed to rebuild what had been destroyed during the war. The population swelled to almost 10,000 people in 1870, up from less than 3,000 people in 1860. The rest of the century brought still more development; iron plants, cloth mills, furniture factories, marble quarries, and foundry and machine companies were established, and Knoxville began to emerge as a major southern commercial center.

Economic Problems Abound

Throughout much of the twentieth century, however, Knoxville saw its postwar progress eroded by racial tension, periodic economic downturns, the Great Depression of the 1930s, loss of population to the suburbs, and a series of ineffective city governments. The 1920s provided a brief respite from economic woes as the city benefited from the national boom, but social and political conditions continued to deteriorate when conservative leaders clashed with progressive elements over the best way to tackle Knoxville's problems. Like so many other cities, Knoxville was hit hard by the Great Depression; factories closed, major banks failed, and the optimism of the previous decade faded, leaving in its place a cautiousness that influenced decision-makers for years to come.

Wartime Brings Prosperity

World War II brought prosperity to the area, especially at Alcoa Aluminum, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Rohm & Haas, manufacturers of plexiglass for airplanes. The influx of federal money and jobs led to increased activity in other areas, including construction, service industries, and retail and wholesale trade. But Knoxville failed to capitalize on the wartime gains and instead entered another period of stagnation during the 1950s.

City Celebrates Progressive Spirit

Since the mid-1960s, however, Knoxville has been busy reversing the trends of previous years. A new generation of progressive business and political leaders has worked to make the city more attractive to developers, initiating facelifts for downtown buildings, arranging financing for new projects, cleaning up the riverfront, and demolishing or upgrading substandard housing. The 1982 World's Fair and its theme of "Energy Turns the World" focused even more attention on the city's attempts to stage a comeback. New industries, especially high-technology ones, have established facilities in the area, and old industries have expanded. This in turn has led to gains in construction, services, and retail trade as thousands of young, well-educated, and affluent workers have followed the high-technology firms to Knoxville. In 2005, Expansion Management magazine ranked Knoxville 14th on its list of "America's 50 Hottest Cities" for businesses looking to expand or relocate. Knoxville intends to build on the progress of the past to make the twenty-first century the best years yet for the "Gateway to the Smokies."

Historical Information: East Tennessee Historical Society, McClung Historical Collection, 314 W. Clinch Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902; telephone (865)544-5744

Knoxville: Education and Research

views updated May 21 2018

Knoxville: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Knoxville public schools are considered models of quality. They recently received an A + rating from the Tennessee State Department of Education. The system offers diverse options, including advanced programs for gifted students, and comprehensive services for students with learning disabilities or physical challenges. Knox county's five magnet schools offer enhanced arts and science curriculums.

The following is a summary of data regarding Knox County public schools as of spring 2004.

Total enrollment: 62,000

Number of facilities elementary schools: 51

junior high/middle schools: 14

senior high schools: 12

other: 12 (2 vocational schools and 10 special education centers)

Student/teacher ratio: 16:1

Teacher salaries (2004-2005)

minimum: $30,530

maximum: $51,770

Funding per pupil: $5,701 (2000-2001)

In addition to the public schools, students in metropolitan Knoxville may attend one of the area's 31 private or parochial schools. Hearing-impaired children from across the state attend the Knoxville-based Tennessee School for the Deaf.

Public Schools Information: Knox County Public School System, PO Box 2188, Andrew Johnson Building, 912 S. Gay St., Knoxville, TN 37901; telephone (865)594-1800

Colleges and Universities

Knoxville is home to one public and three private institutions of higher learning. The largest and most influential by far is the main campus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UT), located near downtown. The centerpiece of a statewide university system, it has 21 different schools and colleges (among them a College of Veterinary Medicine). UT offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees in a total of 809 fields of study ranging from engineering and business to history and music. Several of the university's programs are highly ranked nationally, including its Physician Executive MBA program (ranked 1st), graduate program in printmaking (ranked 3rd), pharmacy (ranked 7th), and nuclear engineering (ranked 11th). The university works closely with area industries and research centers, including the Tennessee Valley Authority and nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to provide leadership and expertise in a variety of high-technology fields.

The city's other major facilities are Knoxville College and Johnson Bible College, both of which provide four-year degrees in liberal arts and sciences, and Bristol University which offers bachelor of science degrees in business and computer science. Located nearby are Carson-Newman College and Maryville College. Pellissippi State Technical College offers two-year college transfer and technical programs, and State Area Vocational Technical School at Knoxville offers career-oriented programs.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Knox County Public Library System (KCPLS) consists of the Central Library downtown (the East Tennessee Historical Center and Lawson McGhee) and 17 branches located throughout Knox County. Its annual circulation is over two million. The system's holdings encompass approximately one million volumes as well as numerous films, videos, compact discs, and other materials. Special interest fields include the history and genealogy of Tennessee, and the city of Knoxville and Knox County archives. The KCPLS offers free Internet access to patrons. The University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville and Knoxville College also maintain their own large libraries. Additionally, several Knoxville-area hospitals and city, county, and federal offices maintain libraries.

In addition to the Tennessee Valley Authority and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the region's two largest research and development facilities, Knoxville is home to several other research centers, most of which are affiliated with the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In 2000, UT created nine Research Centers of Excellence in the following areas: information technology research, food safety, neurobiology of brain diseases, diseases of connective tissue, environmental biotechnology, structural biology, vascular biology, genomics and bioinformatics, and advanced materials.

Public Library Information: Knox County Public Library System, Lawson McGhee Library, 500 West Church Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37902-2505; telephone (865)544-5750; email [email protected]

Knoxville: Population Profile

views updated May 18 2018

Knoxville: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 546,488

1990: 585,960

2000: 687,249

Percent change, 19902000: 17.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 60th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 65th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 62nd (MSA)

City Residents

1980: 175,045

1990: 169,761

2000 estimate: 173,890

2003 estimate: 173,278

Percent change, 19902000: 2.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 77th

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 135th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 1,876.7 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 138,611

Black or African American: 28,171

American Indian and Alaska Native: 541

Asian: 2,525

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 60

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 2,751

Other: 3,982

Percent of residents born in state: 67.6% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Poplation under 5 years old: 10,296

Poplation 5 to 9 years old: 9,610

Poplation 10 to 14 years old: 9,033

Poplation 15 to 19 years old: 13,652

Poplation 20 to 24 years old: 20,800

Poplation 25 to 34 years old: 27,311

Poplation 35 to 44 years old: 24,062

Poplation 45 to 54 years old: 20,702

Poplation 55 to 59 years old: 7,361

Poplation 60 to 64 years old: 6,069

Poplation 65 to 74 years old: 11,977

Poplation 75 to 84 years old: 9,393

Poplation 85 years and older: 3,624 Median age: 33.4 years

Births (2003; Knox County)

Total number: 5,058

Deaths (2003; Knox County)

Total number: 3,661 (of which, 39 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $18,171

Median household income: $27,492

Total households: 76,550

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 14,282

$10,000 to $14,999: 7,255

$15,000 to $24,999: 13,643

$25,000 to $34,999: 10,878

$35,000 to $49,999: 11,958

$50,000 to $74,999: 10,089

$75,000 to $99,999: 4,085

$100,000 to $149,999: 2,690

$150,000 to $199,999: 705

$200,000 or more: 965

Percent of families below poverty level (2000): 14.4% (29.8% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 11,983


views updated May 17 2018


Knoxville: Introduction
Knoxville: Geography and Climate
Knoxville: History
Knoxville: Population Profile
Knoxville: Municipal Government
Knoxville: Economy
Knoxville: Education and Research
Knoxville: Health Care
Knoxville: Recreation
Knoxville: Convention Facilities
Knoxville: Transportation
Knoxville: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1786 (incorporated 1791)

Head Official: Mayor Bill Haslam (R) (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 175,045

1990: 169,761

2000: 173,890

2003 estimate: 173,278

Percent change, 19902000: 2.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 77th

U.S. rank in 1990: 101st (State rank: 3rd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 135th (State rank: 3rd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 546,488

1990: 585,960 (MSA)

2000: 687,249 (MSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 17.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 60th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 65th (MSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 62nd (MSA)

Area: 92.7 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Approximately 936 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 60.0° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 48.2 inches

Major Economic Sectors: wholesale and retail trade, services, government

Unemployment rate: 3.3% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $18,171 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 11,983

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville College, Pellissippi State Technical Community College

Daily Newspaper: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Knoxville: Health Care

views updated May 14 2018

Knoxville: Health Care

Quality, affordable health care is available through the Knoxville region's five general-use hospitals, offering about 2,590 beds and providing practically every imaginable specialty, including many that are generally not found in communities of this size. In addition, Knoxville's East Tennessee Children's Hospital devotes itself exclusively to prenatal and intensive care, pediatrics, and children's surgery.

The largest hospital in the area is the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville (UT). UT is nationally renowned for its research programs in heart disease, cancer, and genetics. Pediatrics, intensive care for newborns, and organ transplants are among its expanding services. Another of Knoxville's outstanding hospitals is Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. Fort Sanders features the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, an $8 million facility specializing in treatment for disabled accident or stroke victims and a Kidney Stone Treatment Center with lithotripsy, the latest in kidney stone treatment. The hospital houses the Thompson Cancer Survival Center, a $20 million regional cancer unit closely affiliated with the prestigious Duke University Cancer Center. East Tennessee Baptist Hospital, offering a full range of services, is particularly known for its heart clinic.

St. Mary's Health System features a substance abuse center, a diabetes management center, and an Alzheimer treatment and research program. The hospital excels in laser eye care treatment as well as programs related to adolescent emotional behavior problems and home health care. Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee is known for its leading edge techniques in carotid artery treatment, and has the only Gamma Knife treatment center in the region, offering an alternative for brain tumor patients facing traditional surgery. Parkwest Medical Center's specialties include bariatric surgery, and treatment of breast cancer and heart disease.

Knoxville: Convention Facilities

views updated May 21 2018

Knoxville: Convention Facilities

Knoxville played host to the world in 1982 when the city staged a highly successful World's Fair. Situated within World's Fair Park is the Knoxville Convention Center, a sparkling, technologically-advanced facility boasting a 119,922 square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,300 square-foot divisible ballroom, 14 functional meeting rooms seating attendees in theater style, a lecture hall with seating for 461, and three luxury conference rooms. Opened in July of 2002, the Convention Center is within walking distance of excellent dining, charming shops, and major hotels.

While the Knoxville Convention Center is the area's newest and largest meeting facility, the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum has served the community well for many years. It has been the site of political rallies, rock concerts, major theatrical presentations, international circuses, glitzy ice shows, and grueling sports events. Conveniently situated in the downtown area, the Coliseum Convention Hall provides 34,000 square feet of uninterrupted exhibition space, with an additional 11,000 square feet available for storage. Seating capacity in the Convention Hall is 2,200 people. Smaller shows can be accommodated in the 11,130-square-foot Exhibition Hall. The ballroom is a multifunctional area of the Civic Coliseum used for banquets, exhibits, dancing and meetings. It has a seating capacity for meetings of 500 people. The Civic Auditorium, which seats up to 2,407 people, features two balconies, upholstered seating arranged in tiers, excellent acoustics, and a fully equipped stage.

Unusual meeting spaces include the Lamar HouseBijou Theatre and the Tennessee Theater. Knoxville's fine hotels and motor lodges not only furnish more than 7,500 rooms throughout the county (with approximately 1,200 in the downtown/convention area), but also provide additional private meeting rooms.

Convention Information: Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 301 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902; telephone (865)523-7263

Knoxville: Communications

views updated Jun 11 2018

Knoxville: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Knoxville has one daily (morning) newspaper, The Knoxville News-Sentinel. Numerous other weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly publications are published in Knoxville, as well as quarterly academic journals on such topics as mental health nursing, education for the gifted, nematology, economics, and journalism.

Television and Radio

Five television stationsfour network affiliates, and one public education channeloperate in Knoxville. In addition, 17 AM and FM stations broadcast to listeners in metropolitan Knoxville, offering programs to suit every taste.

Media Information: Knoxville News-Sentinel Co., 208 W. Church Avenue, P.O. Box 59038, Knoxville, TN 37950; telephone (423)523-3131

Knoxville Online

City of Knoxville Home Page. Available

Knox County Public Library System. Available

Knox County Schools. Available

Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership. Available

Knoxville News-Sentinel. Available

Selected Bibliography

Agee, James, A Death In The Family, (New York: McDowell Oblensky, 1957)

Manning, Russ, and Sondra Jamieson, Historic Knoxville and Knox County (Norris, Tenn.: Mountain Laurel Place, 1991)

Knoxville: Introduction

views updated May 21 2018

Knoxville: Introduction

Just 30 miles north of the country's most visited national park, Knoxville, Tennessee, has long been known as the "Gateway to the Smokies." The greater Knoxville area has won accolades for its "livability"a combination of qualities that encompasses such factors as economic outlook, climate, cost of living, education, transportation, and the arts. The corporate hub of east Tennessee and home to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville's main campus, the city is not yet among the South's urban giants. In the last several decades Knoxville has experienced impressive gains, particularly in high-technology industries and related firms. Because of the influence of TVA, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and world-famous Oak Ridge, 30 miles away, Knoxville has become known as one of the foremost energy centers in the world. Knoxvillians are determined to enjoy the fruits of development without sacrificing those qualities that have made their city stand out among the country's smaller urban areas.