Happy birthday, Knoxville! The Scruffy City turns 230

in Community/Places

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Happy birthday, Knoxville! October 3 marks 230 years since the city of Knoxville was formally named.

The city’s early history began with James White, Knoxville’s founder. He established his home on what were hunting grounds belonging to the Cherokee natives in 1786 as a cluster of cabins and a fort.

In 1791, it was decided the community would become the capital of the Southwest Territory (which would later become the state of Tennessee in 1796). President George Washington had appointed William Blount to preside as the territory’s governor in 1790, and in the summer of 1791 Blount negotiated the Treaty of Holston with the Cherokee at the future site of Knoxville.

Knoxville almost ended up being established in Roane County at what would become known as Kingston. Blount wanted to set up the capital near where the Tennessee and Clinch rivers meet, but was unable to convince the Cherokee to hand over ownership of the lands.

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