Welcome to Knoxville, situated in the heart of East Tennessee as well as the Southeast, making Knoxville less than a day’s drive for over 70 percent of the U.S. population. As the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Knoxville is the state’s third largest metropolitan area with two major interstates intersecting from the North/South (I-75) and East/West (I-40).
Founded by James White in 1786, Knoxville was the state’s first Capitol, and benefited from economic boom in the early 19th century with its proximity to the river and the development of the railroad. Mild climate and attractive cost of living make Knoxville a destination for businesses, residents and visitors. With four mild seasons, there is more time to enjoy the natural resources that include seven lakes, seven state parks and five national parks within a 2-hour drive. The world was invited to Knoxville in 1982 for the World’s Fair, and everyone enjoys the many area festivals and cultural events today, as well as the symphony, the opera and many theaters in the area.
History of the “Volunteer”:
Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee, one of the few land-grant universities in the country, calling themselves the Tennessee “Volunteers” or “Vols”. The “Volunteer” spirit began with a nickname from a call for volunteer soldiers by the army during the War of 1812. A request of 3,500 soldiers was made, and over 25,000 Tennesseans answered the call. The Tennessee Volunteers participated in battles of New Orleans and also took part in the greatest victory of the war when they helped to defeat a wave of top British soldiers. Two decades later, Tennesseans advanced their reputation as Volunteers when several hundred made an unsolicited journey to help Davy Crockett (born in Greene County, Tennessee) and the Texans in their war for independence from Mexico. The Volunteer name was solidified during the Mexican-American War when a call for 2,800 soldiers brought out over 30,000 volunteers. In 1897, the new student yearbook was christened “The Volunteer”, and in 1902, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to a University of Tennessee sports team (football) as “Volunteers” for the first time. In 1905, Tennessee Volunteers became the official name for sports teams from UT.