Kingsport, Tennessee, straddles both Hawkins and Sullivan counties in the northeastern corner of the state. It is the principal city in what is called the "Tri-Cities Region," which also includes Johnson City and Bristol. The population of Kingsport is about 45,000.
Kingsport has seen everything from the history of the Cherokee Nation, to the coming of frontier settlers such as Daniel Boone, the forced removal of the Cherokee (later called "The Trail of Tears"), to the Civil War. Because of its location at the Long Island of the Holston River, the city became an important shipping port to both the Cherokee Nation and the colonial settlers.
In 2008 Kingsport was given the inaugural Siemens Sustainable Community Award for successfully taking on the challenges of economic growth, environmental stewardship, and social capital through its efforts to revitalize the town with a combination of workforce development and training programs, entrepreneurial efforts, and diversification of its economic base.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Kingsport is one of the earliest areas designed by a city planner. It was organized in 1917 into areas that were designated specifically for housing, industry, commerce, or churches. Kingsport schools consistently rank in the top 10 percent in the United States. The average cost for a home in Kingsport was $109,000 in 2007. Because of recent revitalization projects, the following neighborhoods have been listed as some of the best places to live in the area:
- Preston Forest
- Cooks Valley
- East Stone Commons
- Kingsport Pavilion
- Reedy Creek Terrace
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Since 1822, when Kingsport was first incorporated, the land by the Long Island of the Holston River was an important gathering spot for those who wanted to do business with the barges that were going down river to transport goods. Today that same area exists within the corporate boundaries of Kingsport. Corporations in Kingsport include Leclerc Foods, Eastman Chemical Company, and the Union Dye and Chemical Corporation.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Arts Council of Greater Kingsport offers musical and theatric performances as well as workshops for children.
- Kingsport Theatre Guild, Inc., was founded in 1941, making it one of the oldest community theaters in the state. It features high-quality productions of plays and musicals.
- Centre for the Performing Arts features classes in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and tap for children and professionals.
- Intercity Ballet performs "The Nutcracker Suite" to the delight of more than 4,000 people each year. The company provides training in classical ballet and stage performance.
- East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum showcases fossilized remains dating back 4.5 to 7 million years. Visitors can tour the actual site to see the fossil remains of saber-tooth tigers, short-faced bears, and other prehistoric animals.
- Netherland Inn House Museum and Boatyard Complex is the only historical site registered in the United States that was used as both a stop for stagecoaches and as a boatyard. It dates back to the 1760s, when travelers would come by wagon to build boats before continuing their journey west. Though the inn's original furniture was destroyed during the Civil War, it has been refurnished to depict life at an American frontier settlement.
- Allandale Mansion is called "The White House of Kingsport." It is furnished with fine furnishing from Europe. The mansion was built in 1949 and can be rented for events such as weddings and receptions. It is also open for tours.
- The Exchange Place is a living-history farm where visitors can see firsthand what life was like on a self-supporting plantation. There are ten buildings on the site, which were built between 1816 and 1851. Live demonstrations and festivals are held there throughout the year.
- Hammond House is a restored Victorian house that was built in 1892. The house is furnished with items from the era, including a fainting couch, an Edison phonograph, and a working foot-pump organ.
The actual wilderness trail created by Daniel Boone still exists and is still very much a part of the area. Visitors can learn about how Boone created the trail and how it became the major way west for many colonial settlers.
- Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail is the actual trail built in 1775 by Daniel Boone himself. This trail was the route taken by hundreds of thousands of settlers as they journeyed to the western frontiers. The trail begins in Long Island of the Holstan River in Kingsport and continues to the Cumberland Gap of Virginia and, finally, into Kentucky.
- Wilderness Road is a state park that contains about 310 acres of the original trail carved by Daniel Boone in 1775. There is a replica of a frontier fort called Martin's Station to explore as well as bike and walking trails.
- Bays Mountain Nature Preserve covers more than 3,500 acres of land, with walking trails and a lake as well as a museum and planetarium.
- Kingsport Greenbelt is a bicycle trail that journeys past parts of the Holstan River and Reedy Creek.
There are several parks in and around the Kingsport area where hiking, horseback riding, picnicking and other recreational activities area available throughout the year.
- Cloud Park
- Eastman Recreation Area
- Riverfront Park
- Centennial Boat Yard Park
- Bays Mountain Park
- J Fred Johnson Park
- East Tennessee State University offers academic programs in arts and sciences, business and technology, education, medicine, clinical and rehabilitative health sciences, nursing, public health, and pharmacology, as well as continuing and graduate studies.
- Walters State Community College features academic studies in behavioral and social sciences, business, health programs, mathematics, natural science, technical education, and public safety. It also offers distance learning and online degree programs.