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Calhoun, Tennessee
Location of Calhoun, Tennessee
Location of Calhoun, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County McMinn
Founded 1820
Incorporated 1961
Named for John C. Calhoun
 • Total 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)
 • Land 1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
712 ft (217 m)
 • Total 490
 • Density 486.4/sq mi (187.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-10440
GNIS feature ID 1279325

Calhoun is a town in McMinn County, Tennessee, United States. It is part of the Chattanooga–Cleveland–Athens combined statistical area. The population was 490 at the 2010 census.


The Calhoun area was settled by John Walker (c. 1770-1834), a part-Cherokee grandson of Nancy Ward and a prominent figure in the formation of McMinn County. Walker operated a ferry along the Hiwassee River and helped contract the Cherokee Turnpike Company in 1806, which maintained the road between Knoxville and Georgia. In 1819, Walker helped negotiate the Calhoun Treaty, in which the Cherokee ceded the remaining lands between the Little Tennessee River and the Hiwassee River, including what is now McMinn County. McMinn County was organized at Walker's house that same year. In 1820, Walker laid out the town of Calhoun, which he named for the Calhoun Treaty's chief U.S. negotiator, John C. Calhoun. Walker would eventually be assassinated by two anti-removal Cherokees, who felt he had betrayed the Cherokee nation.

View of town - NARA - 281015
Calhoun in 1939

Joseph McMinn, governor of Tennessee from 1815 to 1821, spent the last few years of his life in Calhoun, and is buried in the Shiloh Presbyterian Cemetery, which is located in Calhoun.

In 1954, the pulp and paper giant Bowater (now Resolute Forest Products) established a plant in Calhoun that soon grew to become one of the largest newsprint mills in North America. The mill, which dominates the western half of Calhoun, produces 750,000 metric tons of newsprint and specialty paper per year.

There is one government building in the city which functions as the town's library, courthouse, police station, and fire station. Directly across the road from this building is a baseball field where Little League games are held.

On December 11, 1990, a heavy fog led to a crash involving 99 vehicles along Interstate 75 near Calhoun, killing 12 and injuring 42. As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board has installed electronic speed limit signs equipped with fog sensors along the Calhoun section of the interstate.


Calhoun is situated along the north bank of the Hiwassee River, which flows from the Appalachian Mountains to the east and empties into the Chickamauga Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River a few miles to the west. The river forms the boundary between McMinn County and Bradley County. The town of Charleston is located across the river to the south, on the Bradley County side.

Calhoun is situated around the junction of U.S. Route 11, which connects the town to Athens to the north and Charleston and Cleveland to the south, and State Route 163 (Bowater Road), which connects Calhoun to U.S. Route 411 in Delano to the east and Interstate 75 and Meigs County to the west.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), of which 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (4.67%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 232
1880 203 −12.5%
1890 222 9.4%
1970 624
1980 590 −5.4%
1990 552 −6.4%
2000 496 −10.1%
2010 490 −1.2%
Est. 2015 495 1.0%

As of the census of 2000, there were 496 people, 205 households, and 148 families residing in the town. The population density was 486.4 people per square mile (187.8/km²). There were 225 housing units at an average density of 220.6 per square mile (85.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.78% White, 0.81% African American, 1.01% Asian, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.43% of the population.

There were 205 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.8% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 101.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $38,438, and the median income for a family was $44,688. Males had a median income of $36,563 versus $20,333 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,984. About 5.3% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.5% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Coordinates: 35°17′45″N 84°44′53″W / 35.295712°N 84.748027°W / 35.295712; -84.748027

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