Welcome to Knoxville, a vibrant city nestled in the heart of the scenic state of Tennessee. Known as the “Marble City” due to its rich history of marble production, Knoxville is a treasure trove of unique and fascinating facts. From the historical origins behind its name to the breathtaking natural beauty nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, and the prominent role of the Tennessee River, there is so much to discover about Knoxville.
Whether you’re already a local or you’re searching for apartments for rent or homes for sale in Knoxville, this Redfin article will uncover eight fun facts about Knoxville that will ignite your curiosity and help you get to know this remarkable city.
1. Knoxville is the third-largest city in Tennessee
There are nearly 190,000 residents living in Knoxville, , making it the third-largest city in Tennessee (behind Nashville and Memphis). From its thriving economy and diverse job market to its rich cultural heritage and thriving arts scene, Knoxville is a city that seamlessly blends the best of both worlds.
2. The city was named after Henry Knox
The city of Knoxville derives its name from an influential figure in American history, Henry Knox. Henry Knox served as the first United States Secretary of War, and he played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War as a trusted military leader under General George Washington. The city’s founders honored Henry Knox by naming it after him, recognizing his contributions and the significance of his role in shaping the nation’s history.
3. The Tennessee River runs through Knoxville
Flowing gracefully through the heart of Knoxville, the Tennessee River is an integral part of the city’s identity. Its shimmering waters provide a picturesque backdrop for recreational activities, waterfront dining, and serene moments of reflection. Additionally, Knoxville’s Tennessee River hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as Calhoun’s On The River and the Hotter than July Mimosa and Margarita Festival.
4. Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains
Nestled in the breathtaking foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville enjoys a picturesque setting that beckons nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Surrounded by stunning vistas and endless outdoor adventures, this vibrant city offers a unique blend of urban life and natural wonders. With such beauty, it’s no surprise why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, seeing nearly 13 million visitors in 2022.
5. Site of the 1982 World’s Fair
Transport yourself back to 1982 when Knoxville played host to the World’s Fair, a momentous event President Ronald Reagan opened that left an indelible mark on the city. The remnants of the fair can still be explored today, including the iconic Sunsphere, as a reminder of Knoxville’s role in shaping the future. The event drew over 11 million visitors worldwide, including the former President.
6. Knoxville is known as the “Marble City”
Renowned as the “Marble City,” Knoxville proudly showcases its historical connection to the local marble industry. The city’s architectural gems and iconic structures feature locally sourced marble, serving as a testament to Knoxville’s rich heritage. Knoxville marble can be seen within well-known architectural structures such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., New York’s state capitol, and Grand Central Station.
7. Knoxville is the birthplace of Mountain Dew
Knoxville proudly holds the title of being the birthplace of Mountain Dew, one of the world’s most popular soft drinks. In 1940, brothers Barney and Ally Hartman, who hailed from Knoxville, concocted the original formula for this fizzy beverage that would soon become an international sensation. Originally created as a mixer for whiskey, the Hartman brothers’ creation gained immense popularity for its unique citrus flavor and refreshing taste. Over the years, Mountain Dew evolved into a beloved standalone soda brand, known for its vibrant green color and energetic branding.
8. Home of Boomsday
Boomsday is a highly anticipated annual event that captures the hearts and imaginations of Knoxville residents and visitors alike. Held on Labor Day weekend, Boomsday is one of the largest fireworks shows in the United States, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. The event takes place along the banks of the Tennessee River, transforming downtown Knoxville into a vibrant festival ground.