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Camden, Tennessee
Downtown Camden
Downtown Camden
Location of Camden, Tennessee
Location of Camden, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Benton
Founded 1836
Incorporated 1838
Named for Camden, South Carolina
 • Total 5.7 sq mi (14.7 km2)
 • Land 5.7 sq mi (14.7 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
449 ft (137 m)
 • Total 3,582
 • Density 632/sq mi (244.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-10560
GNIS feature ID 1305616

Camden is a city in Benton County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 3,582 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Benton County.


Patsy Cline Memorial Camden TN 09
Patsy Cline Memorial at the 1963 crash site near Camden

Native Americans were living in the Camden area as early as the Archaic period (8000-1000 BC). A significant archaeological site has been excavated at nearby Eva (the actual site is now submerged under Kentucky Lake), uncovering evidence of semi-permanent habitation dating back 7000 years.

The first European settlers arrived in the Benton County area around 1818, shortly after (and probably before) the county was purchased from the Chickasaw. Camden has its roots as a stopover along the stage coach route between Nashville and Memphis. Initially known as "Tranquility", the community had attained the name "Camden" by the 1830s, a name influenced by the Revolutionary War-era Battle of Camden. When Benton County was created in 1835, Camden was chosen as the county seat. The City of Camden was officially incorporated in 1838.

It was near Camden where country music stars Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins lost their lives in a plane crash on March 5, 1963.


Camden is situated along Cypress Creek, near the creek's modern confluence with the Kentucky Lake impoundment of the Tennessee River (the original lower 10 miles (16 km) of the creek were entirely engulfed by the lake with the completion of Kentucky Dam in 1944). The area is characterized by low hills to the north and west and wetlands to the east, the latter of which are largely protected by the Camden Wildlife Management Area.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.7 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 176
1860 159 −9.7%
1870 148 −6.9%
1880 200 35.1%
1890 330 65.0%
1900 399 20.9%
1910 692 73.4%
1920 800 15.6%
1930 955 19.4%
1940 992 3.9%
1950 2,029 104.5%
1960 2,774 36.7%
1970 3,052 10.0%
1980 3,279 7.4%
1990 3,643 11.1%
2000 3,828 5.1%
2010 3,582 −6.4%
Est. 2015 3,575 −0.2%

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,828 people, 1,631 households, and 1,014 families residing in the city. The population density was 344.9 people per square mile (133.2/km²). There were 1,840 housing units at an average density of 165.8 per square mile (64.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.08% White, 5.33% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.31% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.33% of the population.

The Tennessee River near Camden

There were 1,631 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 26.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 81.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,348, and the median income for a family was $31,667. Males had a median income of $27,413 versus $20,142 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,271. About 11.6% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation

William Thompson House
The William Thompson House is one of four sites in Camden listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park, 8 miles (13 km) east
  • Natchez Trace State Park, 17 miles (27 km) southwest
  • Birdsong Resort, Marina, and Campground, 9 miles (14 km) southeast
  • Birdsong Trail Ride
  • Duck River Unit Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, 13 miles (21 km) southeast
  • Patsy Cline Memorial
  • Camden Speedway
  • Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm
  • Bargain Highway, where parts of U.S. Route 641 and U.S. Route 70 are transformed into a 30 mi (48 km) yard sale during the Labor Day weekend
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