Where is – or isn’t – Knoxville?

Ben Taylor Local Living, Popular 11 Comments

Statue of Admiral David Farragut in Washington, DC. Photo: afagen

Thanks to all those who offered answers to my first question. You were most helpful. Feel free to share any further thoughts you may have at any time. For those who didn’t respond, the question is far from closed. In fact, I’d like to consider the same question, but in a different form, and from a different angle.

Where is-or isn’t-Knoxville?

For the first nineteen years of my life I lived in Farragut. Yet during that entire time I do not recall that I ever once considered myself to be from Farragut. I always thought and spoke of myself as being from Knoxville. When out of town, even in the presence of friends from Knoxville proper, I always told others I was from Knoxville. Not once did anyone ever challenge this. The other day, as I went through storage at my mother’s home, I found some old summer-camp letters from my first ‘girlfriend’ in the seventh grade. The stamped, metered envelopes were addressed to:

Ben Taylor
[Farragut Street Address] Knoxville, TN 37922

How odd this seems to me now: I was living in another incorporated town with its own mayor and town council, and I was handing out my address abroad to all and sundry and saying it was Knoxville. The U.S. Postal Service didn’t seem to mind–the letters always arrived.

Nevertheless, this is a local matter. Were the Feds and I both wrong to say I was from Knoxville? If so, where must one live to legitimately make this claim?

If I wasn’t wrong, what does that mean? Does Knoxville extend beyond its own city limits? Where does it end?

If we were to start at a central point, say downtown, and taking all possible roads out of town, where and when would we start finding people for whom we (as well as they) would feel generally comfortable saying they were not from Knoxville?

Comments 11

  1. I don’t know about then, but now mail should not be addressed to Farragut according to the post office. If you go to their website to search for the ZIP code for Farragut, you will be told to use Knoxville instead.

  2. I grew up in that area too, but no one ever called it “Farragut.” If you are really old school, you know it as Concord.

    In fact, for forever, my address was XXXX Main Street, Concord, Tennessee, 37922.

  3. In one sense Knoxville seems to spill over into all nine surrounding counties and in another sense Knoxville seems divided into geographical areas with distinct characteristics.

    I live in Louisville (Blount County). If I am out of town, I tell people I’m from Knoxville. The city is a hub for the nine counties, and the crossing of 75 and 40 reinforces in my imagination the connection of the surrounding areas to Knoxville.

    At the same time, the various areas within the county seem so different that they don’t even seem like the same town. I grew up in Farragut and loved it. As an adult, I have mixed feelings toward West Knoxville. I’ve spent more of my life there, but it feels the least like Knoxville (and that’s maybe because of the ongoing development it seems the least stable).

    I associate four main roads with four key parts of the city: Kinston Pike (West); Chapman (South); Broadway (North) and Magnolia (East). When I think of the town, I usually think of the business and sub-cultures that have sprung up along these four routes. When I was growing up, I had relatives who lived in North, South and East Knoxville, so I have distinctive memories and connections with each of these routes.

    For years I thought of downtown as a ghost town, but now the focus of city planning and business development it is re-surging with yet another character that is distinct from North, South, East or West.

  4. I grew up in Ftn City in the 70’s and 80’s – times that West Knoxville really took off in growth, but Ftn Citians remained fairly insular. The only times we would venture west were to go to West Town Mall, or one of the movie theatres along Kingston Pike (Capri Cinema or Capri Terrace, West Town, Kingston 4, Downtown West – or maybe out to Cedar Bluff Theatres if you were feeling brave. That’s where I first saw Star Wars in 1977, as a matter of fact.

    Other than that, West Knoxville was alien territory. North Knoxville north of 640 was Fountain City, but it was still Knoxville. I distinctly remember there being a sense of that strong community but that’s all it was – a community in the city of Knoxville.

  5. Why do borders have to be drawn? What does it matter? Just like any place, there are many distinct areas that make the entire city unique.

    We moved here from a very large metropolitan area 2 years ago and settled in Farragut for the great neighborhoods, excellent schools and proximity to our jobs (we have a Knoxville address by the way). I love Knoxville, with one exception – frequently hearing/reading comments trashing Farragut. It makes me laugh that I can be downtown in 15-20 minutes but we are considered to be foreign territory. Sure, there are some issues, but what area is perfect? Downtown, north, east and south all have their own quirks, but I still love those areas. I would never dream of bashing them.

  6. Farragut residents may enjoy all of the perks of a metropolitan area- parks, concerts, museums- without paying city taxes or living with poverty and crime.

    That’s what separates Farragut from Knoxville- besides the 15 miles.

    1. You can also live outside of the city and Farragut (in Knox Co.) and receive the same perks and tax breaks. Thanks for regurgitating the facts, Jimbo.

  7. Problem is for the longest the 37922 zip code was one of the largest in knox county. It ran from peters rd to loudon county. And parts of Farragut still do use the 37922 zip, The Choto area and Northshore in Farragut are 37922

    I personally lived for 21 years in Frragut, one of the few that went start to finish at Farragut schools

  8. Pingback: Where is - or isn't - Knoxville? Part 2 | Knoxify

  9. Pingback: Where is - or isn't - Knoxville? Part 3 | Knoxify

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