Tennessee - America at its Best
Facts about Tennessee for each letter of the alphabet
and links to the facts
The Amish way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community. In 1944, Amish people established a community in northern Lawrence County. The Old Order Amish community is still in existence and is considered a tourist attraction.
Tennessee has ARCHAEOLOGY and Palenontoloty events for kids, families and schools. The Tennessee Division of Archaeology maintains a list of archaeology sites in the state. The Tennessee Archaeology Network promotes and publicizes archaeology research in the state. Tennessee has Archaeology Societies and Organizations and an Archaeology Council. The East Tennessee Historical Society preserves the stories, artifacts, and events of the region. Old Stone Fort is a State Archaeology Park and has programs about the Woodland Indians. There are Underwater Archaeological Sites in lakes and rivers.
Tennessee has many ART Galleries. The Tennessee ARTS Commission supports hundreds of art organizations in the state. The Tennessee Art League promotes visual arts through changing exhibitions, workshops, classes and community outreach. Cheekwood is an estate that includes Tennessee Fine Arts Center and Tennessee Botanical Gardens. Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis is the oldest and largest art museum in the state.
Over many species of BIRDS reside in or migrate through Tennessee including Bald eagles. The Mockingbird is the State Bird, and the Bobwhite Quail is the State Game Bird. Bird watching is a popular activity and there are many Birding Trails. The Fish & Wildlife Service has a Migratory Bird Program.
Tennessee has over 19,000 BRIDGES including covered bridges. The covered bridge at Elizabethton and Carter County is one of 2 covered bridges in the state identified by a Historical Marker. The state also has suspension and swinging bridges. Foothills Parkway Bridge is the first of 10 bridges needed to complete the Foothills Parkway. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a dual concrete arch bridge and is considered one of the 7 man-man wonders of the country. Gateway Blvd. Bridge is an arch bridge. Tennessee has over a dozen natural arch bridges. At night, the Hernando de Soto Bridge is illuminated along its "M" shape structure. There are several bridges across the Tennessee River at Knoxville. Many bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Tennessee.
Tennesse has all forms of COMMUNICATIONS including radio, television, newspapers, telephone, and internet. The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio program in the country. Tennessee has several telephone area codes. There are many Webcams in Tennesee.
Tennessee has 95 COUNTIES. The largest county is Shelby and Trousdale is the smallest. Shelby has the largest population and Picket has the smallest. The oldest town in the state is Jonesborough. A county is a political and geographic subdivision of a state and is used in 48 of the 50 U.S. states.
The only DINOSAUR fossils ever found in Tennessee were of the hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur)Edmontosaurus. It's a well known herbivore (plant-eater) that lived during the Cretaceous Period. The State Fossil is Pterotrigonia Thoracica. Tennessee has an interesting paleontology history. Among the many fossils found at the Gray Fossil Site are frogs, snakes, turtles, the saber-toothed cat, the ground sloth, rhinoceros, alligator, camel, and the Shovel-tusked Elephant. The Site is also the largest Tapir fossil find in the world and is yielding new and rare discoveries such as the most complete skeleton of Teleoceras yet found in eastern North America, a new species of Red Panda that marks only the 2nd record of this animal in North America, and a newly identified species of an ancient plant-eating badger. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
Free Public EDUCATION is available from the age of 5 thru the age of 17. The Department of Education oversees education in the state. The Division of Special Education promotes educational services and programs for all children in Tenneseee with special needs. Homeschooling is popular. Tennesse is the first state to make community college free for all adults. The Tennessee Aquarium has Educational Programs. GreatSchools and SchoolBug provide information about schools in Tennessee.
Tennessee has Special EVENTS and festivals throughout the year including State and County Fairs. The Iris is the State Flower, and an Iris festival is held every year in Dresden. Opryland is now Opry Mills - a super-regional shopping mall. Tennessee has the Longest Yard Sale in the World extending 450 miles goes through Tennessee. Knoxville was home to the 1982 World's Fair. The state observes fixed Public Holidays and other special days.
The three stars on the State FLAG represent the 3 different land forms in Tennessee. The state has had a variety of flags and some counties and municipalities have a flag. The Tennessee Institute for Flag Studies is dedicated to the pursuit of Flag Research. The United South & Eastern Tribes have a flag. The state has several Civil War flags. Tennessee Tuxedo is the State Character. The Roman numerals XVI on the STATE SEAL indicate that Tennessee was the 16th state to enter the union. The plow, wheat, and cotton stalk symbolize the importance of agriculture, and the riverboat indicates the importance of river traffic.
The FOOD Timeline of Tennessee dates back to the first permanent settlers who grew corn, potatoes, some vegetables, and a little fruit. In the mountains and hollows, deer and wild turkey were plentiful. Raccoon, bear, squirrel, and rabbit abounded. Stews of opossum and squirrel have remained a part of Tennessee cooking. The state has several food specialties and several foods originated there. The state has Food Festivals, Shows, and Events. The state is known for its Southern Appalachian food. Tennessee has 3 edible state symbols - the bobwhite quail, the largemouth bass, and the tomato. There is a Tomato Arts Festival in East Nashville, a Grainger County Tomato Festival in Rutledge, and Lauderdale County has a Tomato Festival in Ripley Food Banks throughout the state provide food for those in need.
Tennessee has had many FORTS. Most of them have been destroyed but a few are historic sites or parks. Fort Loudon has an an interpretive center and recreation area and is part of Fort Loudoun State Park. James White Fort and Fort Pillow are State Historic Parks. Fort Donelson is a National Cemetery, a part of the National Park System, and has 10 historic sites. Fort Heiman was later incorporated into the park. Fort Nashborough has been rebuilt to show what life was like at the time of the founding of Nashville. Fort Defiance is a Civil War Park and has an Interpretive Center. Fort Cass was an important site during the Cherokee removal known as the Trail of Tears
Tennessee has several GHOST TOWNS. The town of Rugby has abandoned buildings that remain untouched. The library still contains most of its original collection including a book from the 1600s. The church still has its original reed organ, and one of the other Victorian cottages has been decked out in period pieces. The Hopewell Baptist Church, which has held services since 1833, remains standing. The George Jones Memorial Baptist Church is the only building still standing in Wheat. Tennessee claims to have many Haunted Places.
The GLOBAL position of Tennessee is approximately 36 degrees north and 84 degrees west. Rutherford County is the geographic center of the state. The highest point is Clingmans Dome, and the lowest point is in Shelby County on the Mississippi River. Tennessee is bordered by 8 states and has 2 natural boundaries - the Mississippi River to the west and the Appalachian mountains to the east. The Topography of Tennessee ranges from 150 ft to 6,000. Geocaching is a treasure hunt using a global positioning system, and there are many geocaches in Tennessee.
Tennesse has a variety of INSECTS and 2 official state insects - the firefly and the ladybug. The Honeybee is the State Agricultural Insect. Tennessee has several species of butterflies. The State Butterfly is the Zebra Swallowtail. Two species of scorpions are found in Tennessee.
Tennesse has over 400 ISLANDS on lakes and rivers. Some of the islands are on the U.S. Islands Directory because they have a ham radio. Sunrise Towhead is the largest island. Long Island of Holston is a National Historical Landmark District. Mud Island is accessible by footbridge and monorail and is home to the River Walk. Presidents Island is an industrial center, but about 3,500 acres of land, mostly in the flood plain, are still used for agriculture, and several thousand acres remain undeveloped woodlands.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Tennessee State Court System consists of appellate courts, trial courts of general jurisdiction and trial courts of limited jurisdiction. The government of Tennessee is similar to that of the Federal Government and has operated under its present consitution since 1870. The County Technical Assitance Service helps county officials develop and regulate ideas and improve services to citizens in the state.
Many aspects of life in Tennessee focus on KIDS and the state has a Fun for Kids Page. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has a kids page. The State Fire Marshall's Office and the TVA each have a kids page. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Public LIBRARIES are located throughout Tennessee. There are also libraries in the Universities, colleges, and schools. The State Library and Archives is located in Nashville near the Capitol building. Kingsport has one of the largest printing and bookbinding plants in the country. Fort Comstach is now Lawson McGhee Library. The state has a Poet Laureate and celebrates National Poetry Month.
Tennesse MOUNTAINS offer a wide range of activities and mountain climbing is popular. There are 13 peaks over 6,000 feet. The Great Smoky Mountains is a National Park and creates a border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It has Special Activities during the year. Seven states can be seen from the top of Lookout Mountain. The Incline Railway which goes up the side of Lookout Mountain is the steepest passenger incline in the world. There are many tunnels under mountains. The Cumberland Gap Tunnel is one of only two mountain vehicular tunnels in the United States that cross a state line.
MUSEUMS Tennessee has a variety of MUSEUMS. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chatanooga is the largest operating railroad museum in the South. Tennessee has hundreds of museums. The Tennessee State Museum is one of the largest state museums in the country. Nashville Toy Museum has toy trains, boats, soldiers, dolls, and bears. The Chasing Rainbows Museum, based on the country music singer Dolly Parton, is located in the Dollywood theme park, Pigeon Forge.
The story of MUSIC in Tennessee's is the story of 3 cities. Nashville is most famous for its status as the long-time capital of country music. Bristol is recognized as the "Birthplace of Country Music". Memphis musicians have had an enormous influence on blues, early rock and roll, and soul music. Eastern Tennessee is considered the center of Bluegrass music. The Country Museum Hall of Fame and Museum is in Nashville. Tennessee has several official State Songs. Tennessee has 4 opera companies, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Knoxville Opera Company, Nashville Opera Association, Opera Memphis, and several Symphony Orchestras. The State Dance is the Square Dance and there are several square dance and round dance clubs.
The first inhabitants of Tennessee were NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo-Indians. The Mound Builders inhabited the area from about 3,000 BCD until about the 16th century. Some of the mounds have been preserved. When they left several other Tribes moved in. The state does not have any Federally-Recognized Tribes. However, many Federally recognized Tribes/First Nations have historical ties to the state. There are 3 non-recognized Tribes. Chucalissa Indian Village and Museum is the site of a Native American Village. Sequoyah is the only known man in the history of the world to single-handedly develop an alphabet. The Trail of Tears was a series of forced removals of Native American nations from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Indian Territory.
Tennessee is part of the OLD WEST(the area west of the Mississippi River during the 19th century). The state has cowboys and cowgirls. Horseback riding is popular and the state has many horse trails. The Tennessee Walking Horse is the State Horse. Kentucky Downs is a Thoroughbred horse racing track located on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. The state has many rodeos.
QUILTING is popular in Tennessee and there are Quilting Guilds and Quilt Shows throughout the state. There are also Weaving Guilds - Tennessee Hendersonville - Middle Tennessee Fiber Guild Nashville - Handweavers Guild of Nashville .
Tennessee has a variety of REPTILES and amphibians including salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles, lizards, and snakes. The State Reptile is the Box Turtle. Tennessee has several species of salamanders and the State Amphibian is the Cave Salamander. Tennessee has an Amphibian Monitoring Program
Tennessee has many RIVERS including a wild and scenic river. The rivers played a major role during the Civil War. The 3 major rivers are the Mississippi, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee. The rivers are an important means of transportation. There is canoeing and float water rafting on several rivers. . The Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee is one of the top white water recreational rivers in the country and was the site of the Olympic White Water Canoe/Kayak competition in 1996. The Lower Mississippi is designated an American Heritage River. Memphis is the largest port city on the Mississippi River.
Tennessee has several SCENIC BYWAYS. The Ocoee Scenic Byway was the first designated national forest scenic byway in the country. The Great Smoky Mountains Parkway is considered one of the best road trips in the state. The Natches Trace Parkway follows a historic Indian and Pioneer trail. The Old Hickory Nature Trail near Old Hickory Lake is part of the National Trails System. The Cummins Falls trail is considered one of the best in the stae. The Appalachian Trail passes through Tennessee. Unicoi Gap is part of the U.S. Flagship Trail. The state has a variety of other trails and celebrates National Trails Day. Tennessee has many Roadside Attractions.
Tennessee has all forms of TRANSPORTATION and the Tennessee Department of Transportaion maintains 16% of the highways in the state and is also responsible for aviation, public transit, waterways, and railroads. The state has an Adopt-A-Highway Program. Tennessee has a variety of special license plates. The Federal Highway Administration provides information on traffic and road closures in the state. To celebrate its 50th birthday in 2002, Matchbox Cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted to the Union, and the vehicle for Tennessee was the Nissan Xterra.
Tennesse has many types of trees. The State Tree is the Tulip Poplar. Hickory Pine oak trees forest half the state. Tennessee has over 200 Big Tree Champions. The state has 15 State Forests. The Cherokee National Forest is open year-round and offers a variety of recreational opportunities.
Six ships of the United States Navy (and two ships of the Confederate States Navy) have been named USS TENNESSEE. The 1st USS Tennessee (1853) was a paddlewheel steamer captured from the Confederacy at New Orleans in 1862. The 2nd USS Tennessee (1864) was a Confederate ironclad captured from the Confederacy in the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. The 3rd USS Tennessee (1869) was a wooden screw frigate originally built and named as Madawaska. The 4th USS Tennessee (ACR-10) was the lead ship of her class of armored cruiser. The 5th USS Tennessee (BB-43) was the lead ship of her class of battleship. The 6th USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) is an Ohio-class submarine.
Tennessee does not have any active VOLCANOS but evidence of earlier volcanism is present in many areas. After an earthquake hit the Smoky Mountains in February 2015 scientists considered the possibility that a volcano could exist in the region.
Except in the mountains, Tennessee has temperate WEATHER most of the year. Spells of cold weather and snow do not last very long. Cold weather and snow are common in winter in eastern Tennessee. Tornodoes occasionally touch down in Tennessee. The state has not felt the effect of Global Warming". NOAA provides activities for kids about weather.
Tennessee has many species of WILDLIFE. The State Wild Animal is the Raccoon. Tennessee has several endangered species. The state has Wildlife Management Areas. The Appalachian Bear Center rescues and rehabilitates orphaned and injured bears and returns them to the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance, fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats. Tennesse has 7 National Wildlife Refuges and 4 Wildlife Management Areas. The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge is a resting and feeding area for wintering waterfowl, migratory birds.
Time ZONES are established by the Coordinated Univeral Time. The United States has several time zones. Part of Tennessee is in the Central Time Zone and part is in the Eastern Time Zone. The state follows Daylight Savings Time. The state is in the USDA plant hardiness zone 5b to 8a with most of it in the 7a region.
Tennessee has several ZOOS and aquariums. Knoxville Zoological Park has one of the largest collections of big cats in the country. The Memphis Zoo and Aquarium has a collection of More than 2,000 animals. There are several Petting Zoos in Tennessee including Deer Farm and Lucky Ladd Farms. The Nashville Zoo includes a zoo, working farm, and a playground that is the largest community built playground in the world of its kind.