1. Knoxville, Tennessee: A City Divided
Knoxville, Tennessee was a city divided during the Civil War. While some of its citizens supported the Confederate cause, others were loyal to the Union. This led to the city being occupied by both sides at different points in the war. In 1863, Confederate forces occupied Knoxville, only to be driven out by Union troops the following year. The Union forces then held the city until the end of the war.
2. The Capital of Tennessee
Once upon a time, Knoxville was the capital of Tennessee and the Territory South of the River Ohio. This city was the center of government for both of these regions, and it was a bustling hub of activity. It was the site of the first territorial legislature in the Southwest, and it was the first capital of the state of Tennessee. Knoxville was also the home of the first newspaper in the region, the Knoxville Gazette, which was published in 1791. Today, Knoxville is still a vibrant city, and it is home to the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
3. The Streaking Capital of the World
In 1974, Walter Cronkite famously declared Knoxville, Tennessee the "streaking capital of the world" after an estimated 5,000 college students ran through the streets in the buff. This event, which was widely reported in the media, was a major factor in Cronkite's decision to bestow the title upon Knoxville. The streaking craze had been gaining traction in the United States since the early 1970s, and Knoxville's event was one of the largest and most widely reported.
4. The Undie & Streaking Capital of the World
Knoxville, Tennessee is an interesting city with a unique claim to fame: it is known as both the underwear capital of the world and the streaking capital of the world. This odd combination of titles is due to the fact that Knoxville is home to several major underwear manufacturers, as well as a long-standing tradition of streaking at the University of Tennessee. The city is also known for its vibrant music scene, outdoor activities, and delicious Southern cuisine.
5. Knoxville, Tennessee - Fishing Without a License Is Illegal
In Knoxville, Tennessee, it is illegal to lasso a fish! This law has been in place for many years, and is taken very seriously by local authorities. Fishing is a popular pastime in the area, and the law is intended to protect the fish population from being over-harvested. Violators of this law can face fines and other penalties.
6. The History of Tennessee Marble
Knoxville, Tennessee, has long been known as the Marble City due to the abundance of limestone quarries in the area. However, this nickname is somewhat misleading, as the limestone quarried in the area is not actually marble, but rather a type of limestone known as Tennessee Marble. Despite this, the quarries in the area have been producing this unique type of limestone for centuries, and it has been used in a variety of construction projects, from the Tennessee State Capitol to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
7. Kid Curry's Capture in Knoxville, Tennessee
The city of Knoxville, Tennessee, has a notorious past, as it once held the infamous outlaw Kid Curry of the Wild Bunch in its jail. Curry was arrested for shooting two deputies, and his capture was a major victory for law enforcement in the area. The Wild Bunch was a gang of outlaws active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and Kid Curry was one of its most notorious members. His capture in Knoxville was a major event in the city's history, and a reminder of the lawlessness that once plagued the area.
8. Knoxville's 22-minute fireworks display
Every Labor Day, Knoxville puts on an awe-inspiring show of pyrotechnics that is the largest fireworks display in the nation. Lasting a full 22 minutes, the display is made up of more than 22,000 firework shells, creating a dazzling spectacle that is sure to leave viewers in awe.
9. The Knoxville Zoo's Hellbender
The Knoxville Zoo is home to a unique species of salamander known as the Hellbender. This species of salamander is the largest of its kind in North America, reaching up to 29 inches in length. The Hellbender is an endangered species, and the Knoxville Zoo is dedicated to helping protect and conserve this species. Visitors to the zoo can observe the Hellbender in its natural habitat, as well as learn more about the species and its conservation efforts.
10. George Roby Dempster: Innovator of the Dumpster
George Roby Dempster, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, was a true innovator. He invented the first steam shovel, a revolutionary machine that changed the way construction and excavation projects were completed. He also invented the dumpsters that are now ubiquitous in cities and towns across the country, picked up by garbage trucks and emptied into landfills. His inventions have had a lasting impact on the way we build and manage our waste, and his legacy lives on in Knoxville.