The City of Knoxville has a long, rich history, dating back to 1791. Want to know more about some Knoxville history? Read on to learn 17 interesting facts about this city.

Knoxville History Facts

    • Knoxville was settled in 1791, and then established just one year after that. The first known settler was James White.


    • The settlers wasted no time publishing a newspaper to keep the residents informed. The first Knoxville newspaper, the “Knoxville Gazette,” receives publication in 1791.


    • University of Tennessee starts at Blount College in 1794. No officially called the “University of Tennessee” until 1879.


    • Knoxville gets its namesake from Henry Knox, who was President Washington’s War Secretary.


    • The very first train arrived in this city in 1855.


    • In 1859, the most popular sport in Knoxville was – get this – bowling. That’s just because baseball and football weren’t around yet though.


    • During 1870, the owner of the New York Times, Adolf Ochs, began his newspaper career in Knoxville as an apprentice typesetter for the “Knoxville Chronicle.” He was just 11 years old.


    • In 1890, Knoxville debuted the first electric streetcar


    • In the 1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s first projects was building the Norris Dam north of Knoxville.


    • During 1933, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park opened in Knoxville.


    • Mountain Dew got its start here in 1940.

After the 1940’s

    • Elvis Presley signs in Knoxville, TN. No Knoxville means no King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.


    • On March 27, 1963, one of the most famous directors and screenwriters was born in Knoxville. That director and writer was Quinton Tarantino. That’s right. Without Knoxville, there’s be no Tarantino, and we’d live in a world devoid of Pulp Fiction and that’s not really a world I want to live in.


    • Several instances of streaking  in the 1970s were common, which is why Knoxville is sometimes called the “Streaking Capital” or “Underwear Capital.”


    • Knoxville was also known at one time as the “Marble City” because of the “marble” quarried here, which say “marble” in quotes because it was actually limestone but looks a lot like marble.


    • In 1978, Knoxville had the first American-bred and –born African Elephant, where it was born and cared for at the Knoxville Zoo. Her name is Little Diamond.


Knoxville, Tennessee is where a lot of exciting events take place. If you want to learn more about some Knoxville history or visit our blog about things do to in Knoxville.