Tennessee Facts and Trivia

Fun Facts about Tennessee State’s Geography

  • Tennessee map outline
  • The Copper Basin is so different from the surrounding area it has been seen and is recognizable by American astronauts. The stark landscape was caused by 19th-century mining practices.
  • There were more National Guard soldiers deployed from the state for the Gulf War effort than any other state.
  • There are more horses per capita in Shelby County than any other county in the United States.
  • The city of Murfreesboro lies in the exact geographical center of the state.
  • Grinders Switch, entertainer Minnie Pearl’s fictitious hometown, is now an entertainment complex in her real hometown of Centerville.
  • City Guide: Visit Tennessee City Guide for a look at geography, local history, architecture, and culture.
  • Conifer forests similar to those in Canada are found in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Davy Crockett was not born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, as the song says. He was born on the banks of Limestone Creek near Greeneville, where a replica of the Crockett’s log cabin stands today.
  • The Tennessee Aquarium is the largest facility of its kind to focus on fresh water habitat. It features 7,000 animals and 300 species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
  • The largest earthquake in American history, the New Madrid Earthquake occurred in the winter of 1811-12 in northwestern Tennessee. Reelfoot Lake located in Obion and Lake Counties was formed during this earthquake.
  • Reputed “Turtle Capital of the World,” Reelfoot Lake also features thousands of sliders, stinkpots, mud and map turtles.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. The park was named for the smoke-like bluish haze that often envelops these fabled mountains.
  • Mount Le Conte, Cumberland Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains as part of Appalachian Mountain Range (among others) exist in the state of Tennessee
  • Elvis Presley’s home called Graceland is located in Memphis. Graceland is the second most visited house in the country.
  • Cotton made Memphis a major port on the Mississippi River. The Memphis Cotton Exchange still handles approximately one-third of the entire American cotton crop each year.

Tennessee State Symbols Trivia

  • Tennessee State Bird is called the Mockingbird-Mimus polyglottos
  • The official state flower of Tennessee is Iris
  • Actress-singer Polly Bergen, from Knoxville, is the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.
  • The official state motto of Tennessee is ‘Agriculture and commerce’
  • Tulip Tree is the official state tree of Tennessee
  • Tennessee state flag was officially adopted on April 17, 1905
  • Tennessee won its nickname as The Volunteer State during the War of 1812 when volunteer soldiers from Tennessee displayed marked valor in the Battle of New Orleans.
  • The state seal of Tennessee is used by the secretary of state and was first designed in 1801.
  • The official songs of the state of Tennessee are called ‘Tennessee‘, ‘When It’s Iris Time In Tennessee‘, ‘My Homeland, Tennessee‘ ,’Rocky Top‘, ‘My Tennessee‘ and ‘Tennessee Waltz‘.
  • Tennessee was the last state to secede from the Union during the Civil War and the first state to be readmitted after the war.
  • Bristol is known as the Birthplace of Country Music.
  • “The Volunteer State” is the nickname of Tennessee originated during the War of 1812

Historical Facts about the State of Tennessee

  • The city of Kingston served as Tennessee’s state capital for one day (September 21, 1807) as a result of treaties negotiated with the Cherokee Indians. The two-hour legislative session passed two resolutions and adjourned back to Knoxville.
  • TN is the Two-letter or Postal Abbreviation and Tenn. is the Traditional or Standard Abbreviation for the State of Tennessee.
  • Andrew Johnson held every elective office at the local, state, and federal level, including President of the United States. He was elected alderman, mayor, state representative, and state senator from Greeneville. He served as governor and military governor of Tennessee and United States congressman, senator, and vice president, becoming President of the United States following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • Iroquois, bred at Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation, was the first American winner of the English Derby in 1881. Such modern thoroughbreds as Secretariat trace their bloodlines to Iroquois.
  • The only person in American history to be both an Admiral in the Navy and a General in the Army was Samuel Powhatan Carter who was born in Elizabethton.
  • Greeneville has the only monument in the United States honoring both the Union and Confederate armies. It is located on the lawn of the Green County Courthouse.
  • Hattie Caraway (1878-1950) born in Bakersville became the first woman United States Senator.
  • Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is the longest continuously running live radio program in the world. It has broadcast every Friday and Saturday night since 1925.
  • The legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones, who was killed when his train crashed on April 30, 1900, lived in Jackson.
  • Oak Ridge was instrumental in the development of the atomic bomb. Today, because of constant energy research, it is known as the Energy Capital of the World.
  • Tennessee has more than 3,800 documented caves.
  • The Alex Haley boyhood home in Henning is the first state-owned historic site devoted to African Americans in Tennessee.
  • Knoxville was home to the 1982 World’s Fair. Attendance was recorded at 11,127,786 visitors.
  • The nation’s oldest African-American architectural firm, McKissack and McKissack, is located in Nashville.
  • The nation’s oldest African-American financial institution, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company, is located in Nashville.
  • Robert R. Church, Sr. of Memphis is purported to be the South’s first African-American millionaire.
  • The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain in 1968. The museum preserves the motel and tells the history of the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • A replica of The Parthenon, the famous ancient Greek building in Athens, Greece, stands in Nashville’s Centennial Park.
  • The “Guinness Book of World Records” lists the Lost Sea in Sweetwater as the largest underground lake in the United States.
  • The Cherokee silversmith, Sequoyah, was the only known man in the history of the world to single-handedly develop an alphabet. His syllabus for the Cherokee Nation resulted in the first written language for a Native American people. The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore tells his story and is dedicated to the history and culture of Native Americans.
  • The Watauga Association at Sycamore Shoals near Elizabethton drafted the first constitution ever written by white men in America in 1772. It was patterned after the constitution of the Iroquois League of Nations, a federal system of government developed 200 years earlier for five eastern Native American tribes.
  • Gary Cooper won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Tennessee war hero Alvin York in the 1941 hit movie, Sergeant York. World War I hero Sgt. Alvin C. York was born in Pall Mall.
  • When Tennessee became a state in 1796, the total population was 77,000.
  • The capitol building was designed by noted architect William Strickland, who died during its construction and is buried within its walls.
  • Tennessee ranks number one among other states in the total number of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States.
  • Tennesseeans are sometimes referred to as Butternuts, a tag which was first applied to Tennessee soldiers during the Civil War because of the tan color of their uniforms.
  • The Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee is rated among the top white water recreational rivers in the nation and was the site for the Olympic white water canoe/kayak competition in the 1996 Olympics.
  • The name “Tennessee” originated from the old Yuchi Indian word, “Tana-see,” meaning “The Meeting Place.”
  • Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville introduced to the world the plaintive beauty and tradition of the Negro spiritual, which became the basis for other genres of African-American music. It was because of their successful tours to raise funds for the university during the 1870s that Nashville first became known for its music.
  • Tennessee ties with Missouri as the most neighborly state in the union. It is bordered by 8 states.
  • Dolly Parton is a native of Sevierville. A major highway, the Dolly Parton Parkway, takes visitors traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • The world’s largest artificial skiing surface is located at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort in Gatlinburg. There a 5-acre artificial ski surface permits skiing in any type of weather.
  • Coca-Cola was first bottle in 1899 at a plant on Patten Parkway in downtown Chattanooga after two local attorneys purchased the bottling rights to the drink for $l.00.
  • Cumberland University, located in Lebanon, lost a football game to Georgia Tech on October 7, 1916 by a score of 222 to 0. The Georgia Tech coach was George Heisman for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

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