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Cookeville, Tennessee
City of Cookeville
Downtown Cookeville, viewed from Dogwood Park
Downtown Cookeville, viewed from Dogwood Park
Official logo of Cookeville, Tennessee
Logo
Nickname(s): 
Hub of the Upper Cumberland, Tennessee's College Town
Location of Cookeville in Putnam County, Tennessee.
Location of Cookeville in Putnam County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Putnam
Founded 1854
Incorporated 1903
Named for Richard F. Cooke
Government
 • Type Council-manager
Area
 • City 35.95 sq mi (93.10 km2)
 • Land 35.77 sq mi (92.64 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.46 km2)
Elevation
1,089 ft (332 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 34,842
 • Density 970.25/sq mi (374.62/km2)
 • Urban
44,207
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
38501–38503, 38505–38506
Area code(s) 931
FIPS code 47-16920
GNIS feature ID 2404122

Cookeville is the county seat and largest city of Putnam County, Tennessee, United States. As of the 2020 United States census, its population was reported to be 34,842. It is recognized as one of the country's micropolitan areas, smaller cities which function as significant regional economic hubs. Of the twenty micropolitan areas in Tennessee, Cookeville is the largest. The Cookeville micropolitan area's 2010 Census population was 106,042. The U.S. Census Bureau ranked the Cookeville micropolitan area as the 7th largest-gaining micropolitan area in the country between 2018–2019, with a one-year gain of 1,796 and a 2019 population of 114,272. The city is a college town, home to Tennessee Technological University.

Geography

Burgessfalls
Burgess Falls

Cookeville is located at 36°9′46″N 85°30′5″W / 36.16278°N 85.50139°W / 36.16278; -85.50139. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.0 square miles (57 km2), of which 21.9 square miles (57 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.77%) is water.

Located on the Highland Rim, Cookeville's elevation is a few hundred feet higher than either Nashville or Knoxville. As a result, temperatures and humidity levels are generally slightly lower in Cookeville than in either the Nashville Basin or in the Tennessee Valley.

Three man-made lakes maintained by the Corps of Engineers are located near Cookeville, created to help flood control in the narrow valleys of the Cumberland Plateau: Center Hill Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, and Dale Hollow Lake. Two smaller man-made lakes, City Lake and Burgess Falls Lake, lie along the Falling Water River, which flows through the southeastern part of the county. Cane Creek Lake, created by an earthen dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, lies in the western part of the city.

Climate

Cookeville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa) with relatively high temperatures and evently distributed precipitation through the year. Summers are typically hot and humid and winters are mild and cool. The average annual temperature is 44.9 °F (7.2 °C), and the highest temperature recorded in Cookeville since 1896 is 105 °F (41 °C) on June 29, 2012, and the lowest temperature recorded is −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 21, 1985. Average annual precipitation is 56.1 in (1,420 mm), with the highest recorded precipitation at 6.06 in (154 mm) on September 29, 1964. Average annual snowfall is 8.0 in (200 mm) with the highest recorded snowfall at 15.2 in (39 cm) on November 3, 1966.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 156
1880 279 78.8%
1890 469 68.1%
1910 1,848
1920 2,395 29.6%
1930 3,738 56.1%
1940 4,364 16.7%
1950 6,924 58.7%
1960 7,805 12.7%
1970 14,403 84.5%
1980 20,535 42.6%
1990 21,744 5.9%
2000 23,923 10.0%
2010 30,435 27.2%
2020 34,842 14.5%
Sources:

As of the census of 2010, there were 30,435 people, 12,471 households, and 6,669 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,094.5 people per square mile (422.5/km2). There were 13,706 housing units at an average density of 491.6 per square mile (189.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.9% White, 3.4% African American, 0.6% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 4.0% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.0% of the population.

There were 12,471 households, out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37% were married couples living together, 12% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. Of all households 33.9% were made up of individuals, and 10.9% 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 2.83.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 18.6% under the age of 18, 25.2% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,789, and the median income for a family was $39,623. Males had a median income of $28,013 versus $21,710 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,297. About 13.1% of families and 23.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.1% of those under age 18 and 18.7% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

Cane-Creek-Lake-sunset-tn2
Cane Creek Lake

Museums

  • Cookeville History Museum
  • Cookeville Children's Museum
  • Derryberry Art Gallery
  • Cumberland Art Society and Gallery
  • Appalachian Center for Craft Gallery

Performing arts

Dogwoodpavilion
Dogwood Outdoor Performance Pavilion
  • Cookeville Community Band
  • Cookeville Children's Theatre
  • Dogwood Outdoor Performance Pavilion
  • Bryan Symphony Orchestra
  • Bryan Fine Arts Center
  • Mastersingers
  • Cookeville Performing Arts Center
  • Backdoor Playhouse
  • Drama Center Backstage
  • Wesley Arena Theatre
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Brown Bag Lunch Concerts

Transportation

RestaurantRow
Interstate Drive

Cookeville is located approximately 80 miles (130 km) east of Nashville and 100 miles (160 km) west of Knoxville along Interstate 40 (I-40). Chattanooga is approximately 90 miles (140 km) to the south via Tennessee State Route 111 (SR-111). U.S. Route 70N (US-70N, Spring Street in central and eastern Cookeville, W. Broad Street on the western side) runs east–west through the central business district of the city, which is approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) northwest of the interchange of I-40 with SR-111. The major city streets running through the city are North Washington Ave. and South Jefferson Ave., which run north–south through the central business district, and Willow Ave., running north–south and immediately adjacent to Tennessee Tech University. In addition to Spring Street (US 70N), 10th Street runs east–west and connects North Washington Ave. with the neighboring town of Algood, and 12th Street runs east–west and connects North Washington with Willow, and leads out of town to the west, connecting with Tennessee State Route 56 (SR-56, Gainesboro Highway), via SR-290. Running east–west adjacent to I-40 in the southern section of the city is Interstate Drive, which is populated by several national restaurant chains, hotels, and other businesses.

There are no commercial passenger airports in the area. Located in White County approximately 8.5 nautical miles (15.7 km) south of the central business district of the city is the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (ICAO: KSRBFAA LID: SRB), which is a small, general aviation airport serving primarily single-engine aircraft. Commercial flights are available to residents at Nashville International Airport (IATA: BNAICAO: KBNAFAA LID: BNA), which is located along I-40 72 mi (116 km) to the west. Airport shuttles are available for transportation to Nashville International, and the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) operates a daily express bus to the Nashville Greyhound bus station with stops at the airport three times per day. The UCHRA also operates the Cookeville Area Transit System (CATS) local bus service.

DepotMuseum
Cookeville Depot Museum

Since Cookville's founding, rail transport was a major part of the economy, and the Tennessee Central Railway connecting Nashville and Knoxville had a major rail depot in the central business district. This railway was used primarily to transport the coal and minerals of East Tennessee to the markets of the midstate region. The coal industry declined during the 1960s, and the Tennessee Central Railway was discontinued in 1968. Construction of a bicycle trail adjacent to the railway's path began in August 2013, with the reconstruction of the rail depot in Monterey. Plans are to connect this depot and the rail depot in Cookeville's central business district (now a museum) with a 19 mi (31 km) bicycle trail.

Economy

CookevilleMall
Cookeville Mall

Cookeville is the county seat and largest city in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee, and as such, is known as the "Hub of the Upper Cumberlands." Cookeville is located at the center of the labor market area consisting of Putnam, Cumberland, DeKalb, Jackson, Overton, Smith and White counties, with a civilian labor force in 2013 of 103,500 jobs (roughly one-third of which are in Putnam County itself). As of June 30,  2020 (2020 -06-30), there were 16 commercial banks and four credit unions operating in the city, with combined deposits totaling over $2.5 billion. Total retail sales in Cookeville for 2016 were $1.6 billion. The unemployment rate as of May 2017 in Putnam County was 3.0%, down from April 2017's rate of 3.7%. The cost of living in Cookeville is low, and the city ranked 8th in the United States on the Center for Regional Economic Competitivess Cost of Living Index in 2016.

Top employers

According to the city's 2030 Comprehensive Annual Plan published in 2010, the top employers in the city in 2009 were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Cookeville Regional Medical Center 1,600
2 Tennessee Technological University 1,500
3 Putnam County Board of Education 1,200
4 Averitt Express 600
5 Oreck 550
6 Cummins, Inc. 470
7 State of Tennessee 440
8 City of Cookeville 400
9 Tutco 360
10 SunTrust Banks 350

Manufacturing

Manufacturing is the largest sector in Cookeville's economy with over 100 plants and 8,000 employees. With 13% of the workforce, retail trade employs about 4,200 people and is the second largest sector in the Cookeville economy. Health care workers comprise about 12% of the work force with 3,840 employees. Education is another major sector with nearly 2,000 employees at Tennessee Technological University and the public school system.

There are a number of companies based in Cookeville. In 2006 Oreck manufacturing moved their Long Beach, Mississippi plant to Cookeville after Hurricane Katrina. Oreck employs about 500 people and is a prominent business in the region. The trucking company Averitt Express is based in Cookeville, as is J&S Construction. The manufacturing company ATC Automation is also based in Cookeville, and in 2016 announced a $10.4 million investment plan intended to add 110 engineering jobs to the city. Later in 2016, Academy Sports + Outdoors opened a 1.6 million square foot distribution center in Cookeville, the largest distribution center in the state under one roof and employing 700. Also in 2016, Spanish automotive supplier Ficosa relocated a factory and 450 jobs from nearby Crossville to a new, $58 million facility in Cookeville where it added an additional 550 jobs. The Ficosa plant produces high-tech rear-view mirrors.

Technology and research

In 2017, Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE:SAIC) announced that it is establishing its first center of excellence to deliver information technology services in downtown Cookeville. It will be named the Technology Integration Gateway and will employ 300 information technology (IT) professionals when fully developed. Also in 2017, Scottsdale, AZ, based Digital Dream Forge opened a software testing facility in Cookeville, employing 80. In 2018, Italian tile and glass maker Colorrobia announced it would open a $5 million laboratory in Cookeville to service ceramic tile factories in the area.

Retail

Interstate Drive, located parallel to Interstate 40 at the south end of town, is the site of many popular restaurant and hotel chains. A new 228,000 square foot retail park is now operational using the name of the Shoppes at Eagle Point just off of Interstate Drive at the intersection of South Walnut Ave. and E. Veterans Dr. Downtown's West Side is the site of several locally owned retail stores and restaurants, including the Cream City ice cream and coffee shop, Ralph's Donut Shop, Crawdaddy's West Side Grill, The Backroom Bistro, World Foods, The Blue Pig, Father Tom's Pub, Seven Senses Food & Cheer, and others. Cookeville is also home to three of the region's microbreweries, the Red Silo Brewing Company, Hix Farm Brewery, and Jig Head Brewing Company.

Cookeville is considered to be Crossfit's "global mecca," with many of the world's top Crossfit Games athletes living and training together at four-time individual champion Rich Froning's CrossFit Mayhem location.

Points of interest

  • Tennessee Technological University
Cane-Creek-Lake-sunset-tn2
Cane Creek Lake

Museums

  • Cookeville History Museum
  • Cookeville Children's Museum
  • Derryberry Art Gallery
  • Cumberland Art Society and Gallery
  • Appalachian Center for Craft Gallery

Performing arts

Dogwoodpavilion
Dogwood Outdoor Performance Pavilion
  • Cookeville Community Band
  • Cookeville Children's Theatre
  • Dogwood Outdoor Performance Pavilion
  • Bryan Symphony Orchestra
  • Bryan Fine Arts Center
  • Mastersingers
  • Cookeville Performing Arts Center
  • Backdoor Playhouse
  • Drama Center Backstage
  • Wesley Arena Theatre
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • StoryTeller Theatre and Academy
  • Brown Bag Lunch Concerts

Education

Cookeville-High-School-tn1
Cookeville High School

Cookeville is predominantly a college town, home to Tennessee Technological University since 1915. Tennessee Tech is a public university with programs concentrating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as #35 on the list of the Top Regional Universities in the South, as well as the most under-rated university in the state of Tennessee. The university is rated under, "Doctoral Universities - High Research Activity (R2)" by the Carnegie classification system among schools with at least twenty (20) doctoral graduates per year. In addition to its outstanding science and engineering programs, the university is also home to the Mastersingers and the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble, led by renowned professor, R. Winston Morris.

In addition to Tennessee Tech, Cookeville is also home to a satellite campus of Volunteer State Community College as well as the Tennessee Bible College, a Christian college affiliated with the Churches of Christ.

Public schools in the city of Cookeville are run by Putnam County Schools, which consists of a total of eighteen (18) elementary, middle and high schools located throughout Putnam County. The schools located in the city of Cookeville include Cookeville High School, Jere Whitson Elementary, Prescott Middle School, Northeast Elementary, Capshaw Elementary, Dry Valley School, Parkview Elementary, Sycamore Elementary, Cane Creek Elementary, Avery Trace Middle, and the Adult High School. Cookeville High School is one of the six largest public high schools in the state of Tennessee. Cookeville High School and Avery Trace Middle School are among the twenty (20) schools in the state of Tennessee to offer the International Baccalaureate program.

Infrastructure

Transportation

RestaurantRow
Interstate Drive

Cookeville is located approximately 80 miles (130 km) east of Nashville and 100 miles (160 km) west of Knoxville along Interstate 40 (I-40). Chattanooga is approximately 98 miles (158 km) to the south via Tennessee State Route 111 (SR 111). U.S. Route 70N (US 70N, Spring Street in central and eastern Cookeville, W. Broad Street on the western side) runs east–west through the central business district of the city, which is approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) northwest of the interchange of I-40 with SR 111. The major city streets running through the city are North Washington Ave. and South Jefferson Ave., which run north–south through the central business district, and Willow Ave., running north–south and immediately adjacent to Tennessee Tech University. In addition to Spring Street (US 70N), 10th Street runs east–west and connects North Washington Ave. with the neighboring town of Algood, and 12th Street runs east–west and connects North Washington with Willow, and leads out of town to the west, connecting with Tennessee State Route 56 (SR 56, Gainesboro Highway), via Tennessee State Route 290 (SR 290). Running east–west adjacent to I-40 in the southern section of the city is Interstate Drive, which is populated by several national restaurant chains, hotels, and other businesses.

There are no commercial passenger airports in the area. Located in White County approximately 8.5 nautical miles (15.7 km) south of the central business district of the city is the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (ICAO: KSRBFAA LID: SRB), which is a small, general aviation airport serving primarily single-engine aircraft. Commercial flights are available to residents at Nashville International Airport (IATA: BNAICAO: KBNAFAA LID: BNA), which is located along I-40 72 mi (116 km) to the west. Airport shuttles are available for transportation to Nashville International, and the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA). UCHRA's Connect Upper Cumberland service route provides each community with daily intercity bus service on I-40 and I-24 routes into Nashville and Murfreesboro with stops along the route including the Greyhound Bus Station, airport, and other requested destinations.

DepotMuseum
Cookeville Depot Museum

Since Cookeville's founding, rail transport was a major part of the economy, and the Tennessee Central Railway connecting Nashville and Knoxville had a major rail depot in the central business district. This railway was used primarily to transport the coal and minerals of East Tennessee to the markets of the midstate region. The coal industry declined during the 1960s, and the Tennessee Central Railway was discontinued in 1968. Construction of a bicycle trail adjacent to the railway's path began in August 2013, with the reconstruction of the rail depot in Monterey. Plans are to connect this depot and the rail depot in Cookeville's central business district (now a museum) with a 19 mi (31 km) bicycle trail.

Notable people

  • Mack Brown – head football coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels and former head football coach of the Texas Longhorns
  • Watson Brown – older brother of North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown, former head football coach of the Rice Owls, Vanderbilt Commodores, UAB Blazers, and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
  • Jim Carlen – former head football coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Rich Froning Jr. – four-time individual and four-time team champion of the CrossFit Games
  • Robert Ben Garant – "Deputy Junior" from the TV show Reno 911!
  • Bobby Greenwood – former PGA Tour player, professional golfer
  • Jake Hoot – winner of the 17th season of The Voice
  • Huda Kattan – makeup artist, beauty blogger, and founder of cosmetics line Huda Beauty
  • Harold E. Martin – a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaperman, was the former co-owner of the Herald Citizen
  • Jack Norton – children's musician and host of The Zinghoppers children's TV show that has been broadcast on Fox, NBC and PBS stations.
  • Alison Piepmeier – was an American scholar and feminist, known for her book Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism. She was director of Women's and Gender Studies and associate professor of English at the College of Charleston.
  • J. J. Redick – basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, was born in Cookeville, but grew up in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • Lehman Riggs (1920–2021), US veteran, Riggs was the last survivor of the US 2nd Infantry Division from World War II.
  • Elmo Stoll – a former Old Order Amish bishop, who founded of the "Christian Communities", of which the center was Cookeville.
  • Lonnie Warwick – former professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings
  • Darby Faccinto – Professional CGI designer and animator, known for work on Marvel's Loki Disney+ show and other projects.

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