With a population of 165,121, Knoxville is one of the largest cities in Tennessee. Built as a fort in 1794, it emerged as the new territory’s capital and it is home to Blount College, now the University of Tennessee.
The region’s natural resources allowed Knoxville to build its economy on lumber and coal.
Knoxville also became a New Deal town under President Franklin Roosevelt’s Tennessee Valley Authority program. Now headquarters to the Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville also serves as a gateway town to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The city’s only national historic landmark, Blount Mansion, was built in 1792. The former territorial governor, William Blount, drafted the first Tennessee State Constitution there. Close by is the remodeled version of James White’s Fort, the city’s first house, which was built in 1786.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the Mabry-Hazen House, located on Dandridge Avenue, occupied by both Union and Confederate troops in 1863. The Confederate Memorial Hall is housed in a Victorian estate that was once occupied during the 1863 siege by Confederate General James Longstreet.
Norris is 30 miles north of Knoxville, off I-75, and is a community founded around the Tennessee Valley Authority. Norris features the brilliant, 75-acre Museum of Appalachia, a collection of pioneer artifacts and buildings transported there from several nearby counties by its owner, John Rice Irwin. The author of Roots, Alex Haley, lived in Norris until his death in 1992.
The area is serviced by bus and Knoxville International Airport.