Knoxville, city (1990 pop. 165,121), seat of Knox co., E Tenn., on the Tennessee River; inc. 1876. A port of entry, it is a trade and shipping center for a farm, bituminous-coal, and marble area. Its industries include meatpacking, tobacco marketing, and the manufacture of seat belts, clothing and textiles, electronics, mobile homes, chemicals, and marble, wood, and metal products. Tourism adds to the economy. The city is surrounded by mountains and lakes, and the Great Smoky Mts. National Park and several state parks are nearby.
A house was built on the city's site c.1785, followed by a fort and then a town, named for Gen. Henry Knox. Knoxville was the capital of the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio from 1792 to 1796 and twice (1796–1812, 1817–18) served as the state capital. During the Civil War the area was torn by divided loyalties; Federals occupied the city in Sept., 1863, and successfully withstood a Confederate siege (Nov.–Dec., 1863).
The city is the seat of the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville College, and the Tennessee School for the Deaf. It was the site of the 1982 World's Fair, which introduced permanent new structures to the city, such as the Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheatre. Knoxville also is headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Other points of interest include Confederate Memorial Hall, the William Blount Mansion (1792), a replica of the old fort, Chisholm's Tavern (1792), and other historic buildings. Nearby Pigeon Forge has Dollywood, a theme park created by country singer Dolly Parton.