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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee.

Knoxville is the county seat of Knox County and was the first capital of Tennessee.

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One of the oldest artificial structures in Knoxville is a burial mound constructed during the early Mississippian culture period (c. A.D. 1000-1400). By the 18th century, the Cherokee had become the dominant tribe in the East Tennessee region, although they were consistently at war with the Creek and Shawnee.

Knoxville served as capital of the Southwest Territory and as capital of Tennessee (admitted as a state in 1796) until 1817, when the capital was moved to Murfreesboro.

Knoxville initially thrived as a way station for travelers and migrants heading west. Its location at the confluence of three major rivers in the Tennessee Valley brought flatboat and later steamboat traffic to its waterfront in the first half of the 19th century, and Knoxville quickly developed into a regional merchandising center. Local agricultural products—especially tobacco, corn, and whiskey—were traded for cotton, which was grown in the Deep South. The population of Knoxville more than doubled in the 1850's with the arrival of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad in 1855.

The War Between the States

In July 1861, after Tennessee had joined the Confederacy, General Felix Zollicoffer arrived in Knoxville as commander of the District of East Tennessee. Zollicoffer instituted martial law in November, after pro-Union guerrillas burned seven of the city's bridges. The command of the district passed briefly to George Crittenden and then to Kirby Smith, who launched an unsuccessful invasion of Kentucky in August 1862. In early 1863, General Simon Buckner took command of Confederate forces in Knoxville. Anticipating a Union invasion, Buckner fortified Fort Loudon (in West Knoxville, not to be confused with the colonial fort to the southwest) and began constructing earthworks throughout the city. However, the approach of stronger Union forces under Ambrose Burnside in the summer of 1863 forced Buckner to evacuate Knoxville before the earthworks were completed.

Burnside arrived in early September 1863. Like the Confederates, he immediately began fortifying the city. The Union forces rebuilt Fort Loudon and erected 12 other forts and batteries flanked by entrenchments around the city. Burnside moved a pontoon bridge upstream from Loudon, allowing Union forces to cross the river and build a series of forts along the heights of South Knoxville, including Fort Stanley and Fort Dickerson.

As Burnside was fortifying Knoxville, the Confederate army defeated the Union forces at the Battle of Chickamauga and laid siege to Chattanooga. On November 3, 1863, the Confederates sent General James Longstreet to attack Burnside at Knoxville. Longstreet wanted to attack the city from the south, but lacking the necessary pontoon bridges, he was forced to cross the river further downstream at Loudon (November 14) and march against the city's heavily fortified western section. On November 15, General Joseph Wheeler unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge Union forces in the heights of South Knoxville, and the following day Longstreet failed to cut off retreating Union forces at Campbell's Station (now Farragut). On November 18, Union General William P. Sanders was mortally wounded while conducting delaying maneuvers west of Knoxville, and Fort Loudon was renamed Fort Sanders in his honor. On November 29, following a two-week siege, the Confederates attacked Fort Sanders, but failed after a fierce 20-minute engagement. On December 4, after word of the Confederate setback at Chattanooga reached Longstreet, he abandoned his attempts to capture Knoxville and went into winter quarters at Russellville. He rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia the following Spring.

The Late 19th and 20th Centuries

By the 1890's, Knoxville was home to more than 50 wholesaling houses, making it the third largest wholesaling center by volume in the South. The Candoro Marble Works, established in the community of Vestal in 1914, became the nation's foremost producer of pink marble and one of the nation's largest marble importers. In 1896, Knoxville celebrated its achievements by creating its own flag. The Flag of Knoxville, Tennessee represents the city's progressive growth due to agriculture and industry.

In 1901, train robber Kid Curry (whose real name was Harvey Logan), a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch was captured after shooting two deputies on Knoxville's Central Avenue. He escaped from the Knoxville Jail and rode away on a horse stolen from the sheriff.

Knoxville hosted the Appalachian Exposition in 1910 and again in 1911, and the National Conservation Exposition in 1913. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1933. To control flooding and improve the economy in the Tennessee Valley, the federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933, beginning with Norris Dam.

In 1948, the soft drink Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville, originally designed as a mixer for whiskey.

The 1982 World's Fair became one of the most popular world's fairs in U.S. history with 11 million visitors. The fair's energy theme was selected due to Knoxville being the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority and for the city's proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Sunsphere, a 266-foot steel truss structure topped with a gold-colored glass sphere, was built for the fair and remains one of Knoxville's most prominent structures, along with the adjacent Tennessee Amphitheater.


Beardon | Burlington | Cedar Bluff | Chilhowee Park | Colonial Hills | Colonial Village | Cumberland Estates | Downton | Ebenezer | Emory Place | Five Points | Fort Sanders | Fountain City | Fourth & Gill | Inskip-Norwood |Island Home Park | Lindbergh Forest | Lonsdale | Mechanicsville | Morningside | North Hills | Oakland | Oakwood-Lincoln Park | Old City | Old North Knoxville | Old Sevier | Parkridge | Rocky Hill | Sequoyah Hills | South Knoxville | Suburban Hills | Vestal | West Hills |Westmoreland


Knoxville is home to a rich arts community and has many festivals throughout the year. Its contributions to old-time, bluegrass and country music are numerous, from Flatt & Scruggs and Homer & Jethro to the Everly Brothers.

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO), established in 1935, is the oldest continuing orchestra in the southeast. The KSO maintains a core of full-time professional musicians, and performs at more than 200 events per year. Its traditional venues include the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, and the Civic Auditorium, though it also performs at a number of non-traditional venues.

The Knoxville Opera performs a season of opera every year, accompanied by a chorus. Knoxville was the location of Sergei Rachmaninoff's final concert in 1943, performed at Alumni Memorial Auditorium at the University of Tennessee.

In its May 2003 "20 Most Rock & Roll towns in the U.S." feature, Blender ranked Knoxville the 17th best music scene in the United States. In the 1990s, noted alternative-music critic Ann Powers, author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, referred to the city as "Austin without the hype". Knoxville is also home to a vibrant punk rock scene, having emerged from venues in the Old City district, specifically the Mill & Mine and Pilot Light venues.

The city also hosts numerous art festivals, including the 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival in April, which features art shows, crafts fairs, food and live music. Also in April is the Rossini Festival, which celebrates opera and Italian culture. June's Kuumba (meaning creativity in Swahili) Festival commemorates the region's African American heritage and showcases visual arts, folk arts, dance, games, music, storytelling, theater, and food. Autumn on the Square showcases national and local artists in outdoor concert series at historic Market Square, which has been revitalized with specialty shops and residences.


The Knoxville Christmas in the City event runs for eight weeks of events at locations throughout the city including the Singing Christmas Tree and ice skating on the Holidays on Ice skating rink.

Asian Festival | Bacon Fest | Big Ears Festival | Big KnoxVenture Race | Boo At The Zoo | Boomsday | Brewfest | Chocolatefest Knoxville | Concerts on the Square | Corvette Expo | Destination ImagiNation Global Finals |Dogwood Arts Festival | EarthFest | East Tennessee Chili Cookoff | East Tennessee History Fair | Fantasy of Trees | Feast With the Beasts at Knoxville Zoo | Festival on the Fourth | First Friday ArtWalk | The Great Llama Race | GreekFest |
HoLa Festival | IndiaFest | International Food Festival | International Biscuit Festival | Knoxville Brewers' Jam | Knoxville Horror Film Festival | Knoxville Lindy Exchange | Knoxville Marathon | Knoxville Powerboat Classic | Kuumba Festival | Market Square Farmers' Market | NSRA Street Rod Nationals | South Pride Fest | Rhythm & Blooms Festival | Rossini Festival | Scruffy City Comedy Festival | Sevier Heights Living Christmas Tree | Shakespeare on the Square | Tennessee Valley Fair | Vestival | Volapalooza | Xterra Knoxville Triathlon

The 1999 film October Sky was filmed in Knoxville as well as several counties in east Tennessee. The 2000 film Road Trip was partially filmed at the University of Tennessee campus downtown. The film Box of Moonlight, starring John Turturro and Sam Rockwell, was filmed and takes place in and around the Greater Knoxville area. Several scenes from the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things were shot in Knoxville. The 2017 film, The Last Movie Star, one of the last films to star Burt Reynolds, was filmed around Knoxville.

Sites of Interest

Beck Cultural Exchange Center | Bijou Theatre |Bleak House | William Blount Mansion | Fountain City Art Center | Candoro Marble Works | Civic Coliseum | Fort Dickerson | Haley Heritage Square | Ijams Nature Center | James White's Fort | Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum | Knoxville Convention Center | Knoxville Greenways | Knoxville Museum of Art | Knoxville Police Museum | Zoo Knoxville | Mabry-Hazen House | Marble Springs | Market Square | Frank H. McClung Museum | Museum of East Tennessee History | Old City | Ramsey House | Sunsphere | Tennessee Amphitheater | Tennessee River Boat | Tennessee Theatre | Three Rivers Rambler Train Ride | Volunteer Landing | Women's Basketball Hall of Fame | World's Fair Park


1982 World's Fair



Great Smoky Mountains National Park

2012 Knoxville Virtual Tour