Clarksville, Tennessee facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Clarksville's historic downtown
Queen of the Cumberland
Gateway to the New South
Tennessee's Top Spot
|• Total||95.5 sq mi (247.4 km2)|
|• Land||94.9 sq mi (245.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)|
|Elevation||509 ft (155 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||US: 176th|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1269467|
The city of Clarksville is the county seat of Montgomery County, Tennessee, and the fifth-largest city in the state behind Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. The city had a population of 132,957 at the 2010 census, and an estimated population of 149,176 in 2015.
It is the principal central city of the Clarksville, TN-KY metropolitan statistical area, which consists of Montgomery and Stewart Counties in Tennessee, and Christian and Trigg Counties in Kentucky. The city was incorporated in 1785 as Tennessee's first incorporated city, and named for General George Rogers Clark, frontier fighter and Revolutionary War hero, and brother of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Clarksville is the home of Austin Peay State University; The Leaf-Chronicle, the oldest newspaper in Tennessee; and neighbor to the Fort Campbell, United States Army base. Site of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell is located about 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Clarksville, straddling the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. It is officially Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as the base U.S. Post Office is on the Kentucky side of the post. The majority of the acreage of Fort Campbell is within the state of Tennessee.
- Points of interest
- In popular culture
- Images for kids
Clarksville's nicknames have included The Queen City, Queen of the Cumberland, and Gateway to the New South. In April 2008, the city adopted "Tennessee's Top Spot!" as its new brand nickname and is also called Clarksvegas after New Vegas by the soldiers of Fort Campbell.
Clarksville is located at(36.5297222, -87.3594444). The elevation is 382 feet (116 m) above sea level. This altitude can be found on a section of Riverside Drive, which runs along the eastern bank of the Cumberland, but most of the city is higher. Clarksville's civil airport, Outlaw Field, is listed as 550 feet (170 m) AMSL by survey. According to Topo USA mapping software, the city square sits at 475 feet (145 m) and the courthouse at 509 feet (155 m). A point on the northern side of Memorial Drive near Medical Court reaches 598 feet (182 m).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 95.5 square miles (247 km2), of which 94.9 square miles (246 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.71%) is covered by water.
Fort Campbell North is a census-designated place (CDP) in Christian County, Kentucky. It contains most of the housing for the Fort Campbell Army base. The population was 14,338 at the 2000 census. Fort Campbell North is part of the Clarksville, TN–KY Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Major roads and highways
- U.S. Route 41A (Madison Street and Fort Campbell Boulevard)
- U.S. Route 79 (Wilma Rudolph Boulevard)
- Interstate 24 (designated a control city along route)
- State Route 12 (Ashland City Highway)
- State Route 13
- State Route 48
- State Route 76 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway)
- State Route 374 (Warfield Blvd., 101st Airborne Division Parkway, Purple Heart Parkway)
The ZIP codes used in the Clarksville area are: 37010, 37040, 37041, 37042, 37043, 37044, and 37191.
Clarksville and the majority of Montgomery County use area code 931. A portion of eastern Montgomery County is in area code 615. Its neighbor, Fort Campbell, is served by area code 270.
- Ashland Hills
- Ashford Place
- New Providence
- Saint Bethlehem
|Climate data for Clarksville, Tennessee|
|Record high °F (°C)||80
|Average high °F (°C)||45.4
|Average low °F (°C)||25.0
|Record low °F (°C)||−17
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.10
|Snowfall inches (cm)||2.7
|Avg. precipitation days||12.1||10.8||13.7||11.6||12.1||10.7||10.0||9.1||9.2||8.6||11.7||12.1||131.7|
|Avg. snowy days||1.3||1.4||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||0.7||3.7|
As of the census of 2010, 132,929 people, 46,512 households, and 32,968 families resided in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 65.6% White, 23.23% African American, 0.6% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 2.61% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 9.3% of the population. The census recorded 4.4% foreign-born residents in Clarksville.
Of the 46,512 households, 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were not families. About 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.09.
The median income for a household in the city was $48,679, and for a family was $56,295. Males had a median income of $41,019 versus $31,585 for females. The per capita income for the city was 23,722 (4th highest per capita personal income in Tennessee). About 12.4% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.
Before colonization and Native American history
The area now known as Tennessee was first settled by Paleo-Indians nearly 11,000 years ago. The names of the cultural groups that inhabited the area between first settlement and the time of European contact are unknown, but several distinct cultural phases have been named by archaeologists, including Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian, whose chiefdoms were the cultural predecessors of the Muscogee people who inhabited the Tennessee River Valley prior to Cherokee migration into the river's headwaters.
When Spanish explorers first visited Tennessee, led by Hernando de Soto in 1539−43, it was inhabited by tribes of Muscogee and Yuchi people. Possibly because of European diseases devastating the native tribes, which would have left a population vacuum, and also from expanding European settlement in the north, the Cherokee moved south from the area now called Virginia. As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw. From 1838 to 1839, nearly 17,000 Cherokees were forced to march from "emigration depots" in Eastern Tennessee, such as Fort Cass, to Indian Territory west of Arkansas. This came to be known as the Trail of Tears; as an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died along the way.
In the years between 1771 and 1775, John Montgomery, the namesake of the county, along with Kasper Mansker, visited the area while on a hunting expedition. In 1771, James Robertson led a group of 12 or 13 families involved with the Regulator movement from near where present-day Raleigh, North Carolina now stands. In 1772, Robertson and the pioneers who had settled in northeast Tennessee (along the Watauga River, the Doe River, the Holston River, and the Nolichucky River) met at Sycamore Shoals to establish an independent regional government known as the Watauga Association. However, in 1772, surveyors placed the land officially within the domain of the Cherokee tribe, who required negotiation of a lease with the settlers. Tragedy struck as the lease was being celebrated, when a Cherokee warrior was murdered by a white man. Through diplomacy, Robertson made peace with the Cherokee, who threatened to expel the settlers by force if necessary.
In March 1775, land speculator and North Carolina judge Richard Henderson met with more than 1,200 Cherokees at Sycamore Shoals, including Cherokee leaders such as Attacullaculla, Oconostota, and Dragging Canoe. In the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (also known as the Treaty of Watauga), Henderson purchased all the land lying between the Cumberland River, the Cumberland Mountains, and the Kentucky River, and situated south of the Ohio River in what is known as the Transylvania Purchase from the Cherokee Indians. The land thus delineated, 20 million acres (81,000 km2), encompassed an area half as large as the present state of Kentucky. Henderson's purchase was in violation of North Carolina and Virginia law, as well as the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited private purchase of American Indian land. Henderson may have mistakenly believed that a newer British legal opinion had made such land purchases legal.
All of present-day Tennessee was once recognized as Washington County, North Carolina. Created in 1777 from the western areas of Burke and Wilkes Counties, Washington County had as a precursor a Washington District of 1775–76, which was the first political entity named for the Commander-in-Chief of American forces in the Revolution.
In 1779, James Robertson brought a group of settlers from upper East Tennessee via Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road. Robertson later built an iron plantation in Cumberland Furnace. However, an attack by Indians in the summer drove them back. (See Port Royal State Park)
Clarksville was designated as a town to be settled in part by soldiers from the disbanded Continental Army that served under General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. At the end of the war, the federal government lacked sufficient funds to repay the soldiers, so the Legislature of North Carolina, in 1790, designated the lands to the west of the state line as federal lands that could be used in the land grant program. Since the area of Clarksville had been surveyed and sectioned into plots, it was identified as a territory deemed ready for settlement. The land was available to be settled by the families of eligible soldiers as repayment of service to their country.
The development and culture of Clarksville has had an ongoing interdependence between the citizens of Clarksville and the military. The formation of the city is associated with the end of the American Revolutionary War.
On January 16, 1784, John Armstrong filed notice with the Legislature of North Carolina to create the town of Clarksville, named after General George Rogers Clark. The primary streets (from north to south) that went east-west were named Jefferson, Washington (now College Street), Franklin, Main, and Commerce Streets. North-south streets (from the river eastward) were named Water (now Riverside Drive), Spring, First, Second, and Third Streets.
The tobacco trade in the area was growing larger every year and in 1789, Montgomery and Martin Armstrong persuaded lawmakers to designate Clarksville as an inspection point for tobacco. In 1790, Isacc Rowe Peterson staked a claim to Dunbar Cave, just northeast of downtown.
When Tennessee was founded as a state on June 1, 1796, the area around Clarksville and to the east was named Tennessee County. (This county was established in 1788, by North Carolina.) Later, Tennessee County would be broken up into modern day Montgomery and Robertson counties, named to honor the men who first opened up the region for settlement.
Clarksville grew at a rapid pace. By 1806, the town realized the need for an educational institution, and it established the Rural Academy that year. It was later replaced by the Mount Pleasant Academy. By 1819, the newly established town had 22 stores, including a bakery and silversmith. In 1820, steamboats begin to navigate the Cumberland, bringing hardware, coffee, sugar, fabric, and glass. The city exported flour, tobacco, cotton, and corn to ports such as New Orleans and Pittsburgh along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Trade via land also grew as four main dirt roads were established, two to Nashville, one crossing the Red River via ferry called the Kentucky Road, and Russellville Road. In 1829, the first bridge connecting Clarksville to New Providence was built over the Red River. Nine years later, the Clarksville-Hopkinsville Turnpike was built. In 1855, Clarksville was incorporated as a city. Railroad service came to the town on October 1, 1859 in the form of the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad. The line would later connect with other railroads at Paris, Tennessee and Guthrie, Kentucky.
By the start of the Civil War, the combined population of the city and the county was 20,000. Planters in the area depended on slavery for the labor-intensive tobacco industry, one of the major commodity crops. In 1861, both Clarksville and Montgomery County voted unanimously for the state to secede and join the Confederate States of America. The birthplace of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was about 20 miles across the border in Fairview, Christian County, Kentucky. Both sides considered the city to be of strategic importance.
- Camp Boone located on U.S. Highway 79 Guthrie Road/(Wilma Rudolph Boulevard),
- Camp Burnet
- Fort Defiance, Tennessee, a Civil War outpost that overlooks the Cumberland river and Red river and was occupied by both Confederate and Union soldiers. In 2012 the City of Clarksville, Tennessee completed construction of an interpretive/ museum center to chronicle the local chapter in the Civil War.
The Union sent troops and gunboats down the Cumberland River, and in 1862 captured Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, and Clarksville. On February 17, 1862, the USS Cairo along with another Union Ironclad came to Clarksville and captured the city. There were no Confederate soldiers to contend with because they had left prior to the arrival of the ships. White flags flew over Ft. Defiance and over Ft. Clark. The citizens of the town who could get away, left as well. Before they left, Confederate soldiers tried to burn the railroad bridge that crossed the Cumberland River. The fire did not take hold and was put out before it could destroy the bridge. This railroad bridge made Clarksville very important to the Union. The USS Cairo tied up in Clarksville for a couple of days before moving on to participate in the capture of Nashville.
Between 1862 and 1865, the city would shift hands, but the Union retained control of Clarksville, including control of the city's newspaper, The Leaf Chronicle, for three years. Many slaves who had been freed or escaped gathered in Clarksville and joined the Union Army, which created all-black regiments. The 16th United States Colored Infantry regiment was mustered in at Clarksville. Other freed slaves lived along the side of the river in shanties.
After the war, the city began Reconstruction, and in 1872, the existing railroad was purchased by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The city was flourishing until the Great Fire of 1878, which destroyed 15 acres (60,000 m²) of downtown Clarksville's business district, including the courthouse and many other historic buildings. It was believed to have started in a Franklin Street store.
In 1913, the Lillian Theater, Clarksville's first "movie house" for motion pictures, was opened on Franklin Street by Joseph Goldberg. It seated more than 500 people. Less than two years later, in 1915, the theater burned down. It was rebuilt later that year.
As World War I raged in Europe, many locals volunteered to go, reaffirming Tennessee as the Volunteer State, a nickname earned during the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and other earlier conflicts. Also during this time, women's suffrage was becoming a major issue. Clarksville women saw a need for banking independent of their husbands and fathers who were fighting. In response, the First Women's Bank of Tennessee was established in 1919 by Mrs. Frank J. Runyon.
The 1920s brought additional growth to the city. A bus line between Clarksville and Hopkinsville was established in 1922. In 1927 the Austin Peay Normal School was founded, later to develop as Austin Peay State University. In 1928 two more theaters were added, the Majestic (with 600 seats) and the Capitol (with 900 seats). John Outlaw, a local aviator, established Outlaw Field in 1929.
With the entry of the United States into World War II, defense investments were made in the area. In 1942 construction started on Camp Campbell (now known as Fort Campbell), the new army base ten miles (16 km) northwest of the city. It was capable of holding 23,000 troops, and as staffing built up, the base gave a huge boost to the population and economy of Clarksville.
In 1954, the Clarksville Memorial Hospital was founded along Madison Street. Downtown, the Lillian was renamed the Roxy Theater, and today it still hosts plays and performances weekly. The Roxy has been used as a backdrop for numerous photo shoots, films, documentaries, music videos and television commercials;
Since 1980, the population of Clarksville has more than doubled, in part because of annexation, as the city acquired communities such as New Providence and Saint Bethlehem. The construction of Interstate 24 north of Saint Bethlehem added to its development potential and in the early 21st century, much of the growth along U.S. Highway 79 is commercial retail. Clarksville is currently one of the fastest-growing large cities in Tennessee. At its present rate of growth, the city will displace Chattanooga by 2020 as the fourth-largest city in Tennessee.
On the morning of January 22, 1999, the downtown area of Clarksville was devastated by an F3 tornado, damaging many buildings including the county courthouse. The tornado, 880 yards (800 m) wide, continued on a 4.3-mile (6.9 km)-long path that took it north to Saint Bethlehem. No one was seriously injured or killed in the destruction. Clarksville has since recovered, and has rebuilt much of the damage as a symbol of the city's resilience. Where one building on Franklin Street once stood has been replaced with a large mural of the historic buildings of Clarksville on the side of one that remained.
On Sunday, May 2, 2010, Clarksville and a majority of central Tennessee, to include Nashville and 22 counties in total, suffered expansive and devastating floods near the levels of the great flood of 1937. Many businesses along Riverside Drive along the Cumberland River were lost.
History of the county courthouse
The first Montgomery County courthouse was built from logs in 1796 by James Adams. It was located close to the riverbank with the rest of the early town, on the corner of present-day Riverside Drive and Washington Street. It was replaced by a second courthouse built in 1805, and a third in 1806, with land provided by Henry Small. The fourth courthouse was built in 1811, and was the first to be built of brick. It was constructed on the east half of Public Square, with land donated by Martin Armstrong. In 1843, a courthouse was built at a new location on Franklin Street. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1878.
The sixth courthouse was built between Second and Third Streets, with the cornerstone laid on May 16, 1879. It was designed by George W. Bunting of Indianapolis, Indiana. Five years later, the downtown area was hit by a tornado, which damaged the roof of the courthouse. It was repaired. On March 12, 1900, the structure was ravaged by fire, with the upper floors gutted and the clock tower destroyed. Some citizens wanted the building replaced, but the judge refused and ordered the damage repaired.
The courthouse was destroyed by the January 22, 1999 tornado. Residents considered replacing it with a new building, but decided to restore and reconstruct the historic structure. In the process it was upgraded and adapted for use as a county office building. On the fourth anniversary of the disaster, the courthouse was rededicated. In addition to restoring the 1879 courthouse and plazas, the county built a new courts center on the north side for the court operations.
In the June 2004 issue of Money, Clarksville was listed as one of the top five cities with a population of under 250,000 that would attract creative class jobs over the next 10 years.
Points of interest
- Roxy Theatre (located in downtown Clarksville)
- Governor's Square Mall
- Clarksville City Arboretum
- Ringgold Mill, located in North Clarksville
- Port Royal State Park, historic community site and location of one of the oldest points of European civilization in Montgomery County
- Historic Collinsville, historic village restored to illustrate the living conditions of early European and African American settlers
- Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, located in downtown Clarksville, second largest general museum in Tennessee
- L & N Train Station, restored downtown train station
- Wilma Rudolph, statue honoring one of America's most outstanding Olympic athletes
- Dunbar Cave
- New Fortera Stadium, home of Austin Peay Football
- Cumberland River
- Liberty Park and Marina
- Fort Defiance, Civil War fort overlooking the Cumberland River
In popular culture
- The Monkees 1966 #1 song "Last Train to Clarksville" is sometimes said to reference the city's train depot and a soldier from Fort Campbell during the Vietnam War era, but Clarksville was actually picked just for its euphonious sound. The band filmed parts of the song's music video in Clarksville.
- Musician Jimi Hendrix was stationed at Fort Campbell in 1962 as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, before his career took off.
Images for kids
Clarksville, Tennessee Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.