Main Births etc
Kingsport, Tennessee
—  City  —
A Fun Fest balloon floats over Kingsport, Tennessee
Nickname(s): The Model City
Location in the state of Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°32′N 82°33′W / 36.533, -82.55Coordinates: 36°32′N 82°33′W / 36.533, -82.55
Country United States
State Tennessee
Counties Sullivan, Hawkins, Washington
Settled: 1771
Chartered/Rechartered: 1822, 1917
 • Type City Manager / Board of Mayor and Aldermen
 • Mayor Dennis Phillips
 • City 45.0 sq mi (116.6 km2)
 • Land 44.1 sq mi (114.4 km2)
 • Water 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
Elevation 1,211 ft (369 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 48,205
 • Estimate (2013[2]) 52,962
 • Rank US: 694th
 • Density 1,018.9/sq mi (393.4/km2)
 • Urban 106,571 (US: 291th)
 • Metro 309,283 (US: 161th)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 37660, 37662, 37663, 37664, 37665 & 37669
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-39560
GNIS feature ID 1303478[3]

Kingsport is a city in Sullivan, Hawkins and Washington counties in the State of Tennessee. The population according to the 2010 census is 48,205.[1]

Kingsport is the largest city in the Kingsport–BristolBristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which had a population of 309,544 as of 2010.[4] The Metropolitan Statistical Area is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region. Census data from 2006–2008 for the Tri-Cities Combined Statistical Area estimates a population of 496,454.

Kingsport is commonly included in what is known as the Mountain Empire, which spans a portion of Southwest Virginia and the mountainous counties in Tennessee to the east. The name "Kingsport" is a simplification of "King's Port", originally referring to the area on the Holston River known as King's Boat Yard, the head of navigation for the Tennessee Valley.


The North and South Forks of the Holston River converge on the west end of what is now Kingsport, and the town itself was known in 1787 as "Salt Lick" along the banks of the South Fork, about a mile from the confluence. The Long Island of the Holston River is near the confluence, which is mostly within the corporate boundaries of Kingsport. The island was an important site for the Cherokee, colonial pioneers and early settlers. Early settlements at the site were used as a staging ground for people taking the Wilderness Road leading to Kentucky through Cumberland Gap. First chartered in 1822, Kingsport became an important shipping port on the Holston River. Goods originating for many miles from the surrounding countryside were loaded onto barges for the journey downriver to the Tennessee River at Knoxville.

Kingsport in 1937

In the Battle of Kingsport (December 13, 1864) during the American Civil War, a force of 300 Confederates under Colonel Richard Morgan (1836–1918) stopped a larger Union force for nearly two days. An army of over 5,500 troops under command of Major General George Stoneman (1822–1894) had left Knoxville, Tennessee, to raid Confederate targets in Virginia: the salt works at Saltville, the lead works at Wytheville and the iron works in Marion. While Col. Morgan's small band held off a main Union force under Major General Cullem Gillem on the opposite side the Holston River, Col. Samuel Patton took a force of cavalry to a ford in the river 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north and came down behind the Confederates. Out-numbered, out-flanked and demoralised by the bitter winter weather, Col. Morgan surrendered. The Confederates suffered 18 dead, and 84 prisoners of war were sent to a Union prison in Knoxville.[5]

The young town lost its charter after a downturn in its fortunes precipitated by the Civil War.

On September 12, 1916, Kingsport residents demanded the death of circus elephant Mary (an Asian elephant who performed in the Sparks World Famous Shows Circus) for her killing of city hotel worker Walter Eldridge, who was hired the day before as an assistant elephant trainer by the circus. Eldridge was killed by Mary in Kingsport while he was taking her to a nearby pond. Mary was impounded by the local sheriff, and the leaders of several nearby towns threatened not to allow the circus to visit if Mary was included. The circus owner, Charlie Sparks, reluctantly decided that the only way to quickly resolve the situation was to hold a public execution. On the following day, she was transported by rail to Erwin, Tennessee, where a crowd of over 2,500 people assembled in the Clinchfield Railroad yard to watch her hang from a railroad crane.[6]

Re-chartered in 1917, Kingsport was an early example of a "garden city", designed by city planner and landscape architect John Nolen of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It carries the nickname the Model City from this plan, which organized the town into areas for commerce, churches, housing and industry. The result included some of the earlier uses of traffic circles (roundabouts) in the United States. Kingsport was among the first municipalities with a city manager form of government and a school system built on a model developed at Columbia University. Most of the land on the river was devoted to industry. Indeed, most of The Long Island is now occupied by Eastman Chemical Company, which is headquartered in Kingsport.

Pal's Sudden Service, a regional fast-food restaurant chain, opened its first location in Kingsport in 1956.


Kingsport is located at 36°32′N 82°33′W / 36.533, -82.55 (36.5369, −82.5421),[7] at the intersection of U.S. Routes 11 and 23. Kingsport is the northwest terminus of Interstate 26.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.0 square miles (116.6 km²) of which 44.1 square miles (114.1 km²) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) (2.07%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1920 5,692
1930 11,914 109.3%
1940 14,404 20.9%
1950 19,571 35.9%
1960 26,314 34.5%
1970 31,938 21.4%
1980 32,027 0.3%
1990 36,365 13.5%
2000 44,905 23.5%
2010 48,205 7.3%
Est. 2013 52,962 17.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2000, there were 44,905 people, 19,662 households and 12,642 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,018.9 per square mile (393.4/km²). There were 21,796 housing units at an average density of 494.6 per square mile (191.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.32% White, 4.22% African American, 0.79% Asian, 0.24% American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.02% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 0.34% some other race, and 1.06% two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.05% of the population.

There were 19,662 households of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22, and the average family size was 2.80.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,524, and the median income for a family was $40,183. Males had a median income of $33,075 versus $23,217 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,549. About 14.2% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.9% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.


Board of Mayor and Alderman[]

Kingsport uses the Council-Manager system which was established in 1917 when the city was re-chartered. Kingsport is governed locally by a seven member Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The citizens elect the mayor to a two year term and the six aldermen to four year terms. The elections take place in odd numbered years with the mayor and three aldermen elected every two years. New terms begin on July 1. The Board then elects a vice mayor from the six aldermen. As of 2013 the board is composed of Mayor Dennis Phillips, Vice Mayor Mike McIntire, Aldermen John Clark, Colette George, Tom Parham, Tom Segelhorst and Jantry Shupe.[9]

State government[]

The Sullivan County portion of Kingsport is represented in the Tennessee House of Representatives by the 1st and 2nd State Representative Districts, and the Hawkins County portion by the 6th district. Currently serving in these positions are Representatives Jon Lundberg, Tony Shipley, and Dale Ford respectively.[10] In the Tennessee State Senate, the Sullivan County portion of Kingsport is represented by the 2nd Senatorial District and the Hawkins County portion by the 4th district. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and State Senator Mike Faulk currently serve in these positions. All of these elected officials are members of the Republican Party.[11]

National government[]

Kingsport is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Republican Phil Roe of the 1st congressional district.[12]


Colleges and universities[]

While no college or university houses its main campus within the city, these institutions have branch campuses in Kingsport:

  • East Tennessee State University
  • King University
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Milligan College
  • Northeast State Community College
  • Tusculum College
  • University of Tennessee

King, Lincoln Memorial, Milligan, Northeast State, Tusculum and Tennessee are all located in the Kingsport Center for Higher Education complex in downtown Kingsport.[13] East Tennessee State is located in the (western) Hawkins County portion of the city.

Kingsport City Schools[]

Residents of Kingsport are served by the Kingsport City Schools public school system which operates eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. In addition, Kingsport has eight private academies, most with religious affiliation.

List of Kingsport city schools
  • John Adams Elementary School
  • Andrew Jackson Elementary School
  • Andrew Johnson Elementary School
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary School
  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
  • Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School
  • George Washington Elementary School
  • Ross N. Robinson Middle School
  • John Sevier Middle School
  • Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Cora Cox Academy (formerly New Horizons Alternative School)
  • Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee - focuses mainly on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Former school for African-Americans[]

Douglass High School in Kingsport was one of the largest African-American high schools in the region when it closed for desegregation in 1966.[14] The school's former building on East Walnut Avenue (now East Sevier Avenue) was a historic Rosenwald School, built in 1929–30 with a combination of funds from the city, private citizens and the Rosenwald Fund. Although during the years of segregation the Douglass Tigers football team was not allowed to play white teams, the Tigers won a Tennessee state football championship and a state basketball championship in 1946, and a state basketball championship in 1948. The present building, built in 1951 at 301 Louis Street, is now the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex, named for Douglass' former principal, and home to most of Kingsport's non-profit agencies, a Parks and Recreation extension, as well as home to the Sons and Daughters of Douglass, Incorporated, administrators of the Douglass Alumni Association – Kingsport, an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.


Kingsport is the location of two hospitals:

  • Holston Valley Medical Center – A regional Level I trauma center
  • Indian Path Medical Center


  • The vessel SS Kingsport Victory, which later became USNS Kingsport, was named in honor of the city.

Notable people[]

  • Lisa Alther, American author, born and grew up in Kingsport
  • Edward L. Ayers, Bancroft Prize-winning historian and ninth president of the University of Richmond, raised in Kingsport
  • Barry Bales, Grammy Award winning musician with Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • James F. Barker, President of Clemson University (1999–present)
  • Nick Castle, actor who played Michael Myers in the original Halloween, was born in Kingsport and always makes an appearance at the local haunted houses.
  • Harry Coover, The inventor of Super Glue.
  • Jeff Chapman-Crane, Appalachian artist.
  • Denny Crawford, professional football player.
  • Amy Dalley, country music artist.
  • Bobby Dodd, College Football Hall of Fame inductee as both a football player (University of Tennessee) and coach (Georgia Institute of Technology).
  • Bobby Eaton, professional wrestler.
  • Elle and Blair Fowler, online beauty gurus who spent part of their childhoods in Kingsport.
  • Daniel Kilgore, professional football player, San Francisco 49ers.
  • John King, drummer for the Steve Miller Band
  • Cliff Kresge, a Nationwide Tour player who splits his time between homes in Kingsport and Florida.
  • Blake Leeper, Paralympic silver medallist
  • Cripple Clarence Lofton, noted boogie-woogie pianist and singer, was born in Kingsport.
  • Brownie McGhee and Stick McGhee, brothers and blues musicians, grew up in Kingsport and other East Tennessee towns.
  • Ken Mellons, country music artist.
  • John Palmer, former NBC News correspondent, born in Kingsport and a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School.
  • John Shelton Reed, sociologist and essayist, author or editor of eighteen books, most of them dealing with the contemporary American South.
  • Selwa Showker "Lucky" Roosevelt, Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1982-1989 and former journalist for the Washington Post. Married Archibald B. Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Coty Sensabaugh, cornerback for the Tennessee Titans.
  • Gerald Sensabaugh, retired NFL cornerback. Played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys.
  • LeRoy Sprankle, high school multi-sport coach, author, and general manager of the Canton Independents.
  • Adam Steffey, Bluegrass artist.
  • Cyrus Thomas, entomologist and ethnologist
  • Steven Williams, actor who starred in 21 Jump Street and The Blues Brothers.
  • Charles Wright, poet who spent part of his childhood and adult life in Kingsport.

Local media[]


  • Kingsport Times-News
  • Daily News



AM Radio[]

  • WKPT
  • WHGG

FM Radio[]

  • WTFM
  • WRZK
  • WCQR
  • WKOS
  • WCSK


The Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League, a rookie-level baseball league, play in the city. An affiliate of the New York Mets, the team has competed in the city since 1969, with the exception of 1983. The Mets play in Hunter Wright Stadium named after former Mayor Hunter Wright.

Major Industry[]

Kingsport is home to Eastman Chemical Company with its corporate headquarters, Domtar paper company, and Holston Army Ammunition Plant operated by BAE Systems' Ordnance Systems, Inc.

Kingsport Police Department[]

Template:Infobox Law enforcement agency

Kingsport Police Department is the municipal law enforcement agency for Kingsport, Tennessee.[15] The current chief is David Quillin.[16]

In 2006, the KPD consisted of 104 sworn officers, 44 full-time non-sworn officers, and 17 part-time non sworn officers.[17] The budget for 2005 was $8,602,800.[18] The KPD has twelve SWAT members that train regularly. KPD SWAT responded to thirteen emergency calls during 2005.[19]

See also[]

  • Eastman Chemical Company
  • Holston Army Ammunition Plant
  • Netherland Inn and Complex


Further reading[]

  • Long, Howard. Kingsport: A Romance of Industry. Overmountain Press (October 1993) ISBN 0-932807-89-5
  • Spoden, Muriel Millar Clark. The Long Island of the Holston: Sacred Island of the Cherokee Nation. ASIN: B0006WOGAM
  • Wolfe, Margaret Ripley. Kingsport Tennessee: A Planned American City. University Press of Kentucky (November 1987) ISBN 0-8131-1624-4

External links[]

Template:State of Franklin

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Kingsport, Tennessee. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.