Thursday, July 24, 2014

We Really Like Knoxville

We moved from Atlanta to Knoxville back on June 5th for a one month visit that will have turned into a nine week stay once we finally depart here on August 11th. What happened you ask? Well, we just liked the RV Park we found, the people that come and go in the park, and for sure the Knoxville area. Let me tell you a little more about Knoxville.

Today, Knoxville, in Knox County, has a population around 180,000. The Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area which spreads out about 30 miles from the city has a population of near 1.1 million. That figure sure surprised me because the surrounding topography of Knoxville is lush green trees and foliage in rolling hills. Unlike the southwestern landscape all the population here is hidden in the greenery. The elevation here is just under 900 feet. And, oh by the way, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, established in 1933, is approximately 30 miles southeast of Knoxville. One of the peaks in the park is up around 6,500 feet in elevation. Beautiful territory!

The Cherokee Indians were the initial inhabitants and the colonists settled in the Great Appalachian Valley, known locally as the Tennessee Valley, in 1786. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as a state in 1796 and Knoxville was the capitol until 1817 when the capitol was moved to Murfreesboro. Today the capitol is Nashville. Knoxville was described back in those days as an “alternately quiet and rowdy river town with seven taverns and no churches”. Well, there are plenty of churches here now, and the taverns continue to be plentiful!

Certainly the Civil War is a big piece of history all over the south. There are battlefields and cemeteries everywhere. History says that East Tennessee and greater Knox County voted against secession but Knoxville favored secession 2-1. Tennessee joined the confederacy in 1861 and the Union and Confederate Armies each occupied the city at different times. The outcome is history!

Tennessee is known as the volunteer state for their actions back during the Civil War. Some went north and some went south. The University of Tennessee is part of downtown Knoxville and their sports teams are known as the “Volunteers, or Vols”.

Knoxville hosted the 1982 World’s Fair and the remnants remain between a rejuvenated downtown Knoxville and the university. It is a beautiful well-kept area as is all of Knoxville.

Knoxville's reliance on a manufacturing economy left it particularly vulnerable to the effects of the Great Depression. The Tennessee Valley also suffered from frequent flooding, and millions of acres of farmland had been ruined by soil erosion. To control flooding and improve the economy in the Tennessee Valley the federal government created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933. Beginning with Norris Dam, TVA constructed a series of hydroelectric and other power plants throughout the valley over the next few decades. This brought flood control, jobs, and electricity to the region.  Today, TVA is the largest employer in the area employing approximately 12,000.

Other major businesses headquartered in the Tennessee Valley are Regal Entertainment Group, Pilot Flying J, Sea Ray Boats, and Ruby Tuesday to name a few. And of course Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville in 1948 – as a drink to mix with whiskey!

Today Knoxville is very representative of other southern towns. The older parts have been renovated to preserve the past history. Of course the rest of Knoxville has evolved into a new and modern city. All of the history that comes with it is just an amazing bonus.

Our plan (we suddenly have a plan), is to depart Knoxville around the 9th to 11th of August and visit Nashville and Memphis for a few days each, followed by anywhere from one to four weeks in the Branson, Missouri area.

The beat goes on and BooniePeople are Happy Campers!

Regards to all.

Dave & Janet

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