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Copperhill, Tennessee
Downtown Copperhill
Downtown Copperhill
Location of Copperhill, Tennessee
Location of Copperhill, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Polk
Founded 1890
Incorporated 1913
 • Total 1.9 sq mi (5.0 km2)
 • Land 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
1,470 ft (448 m)
 • Total 354
 • Density 271.9/sq mi (105.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-17000
GNIS feature ID 1281278

Copperhill is a city in Polk County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 354 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area.

For years, up until the 1980s, the production of copper and acid denuded the area of any greenery, although the area has now been greatly reforested, due to a multimillion-dollar effort by the successor companies to the original copper company. The copper and acid plants have been permanently closed and most of the plant infrastructure already removed and sold overseas. Much of the scrap metals from the site have been removed and sold to China. Glenn Springs Holdings has cleaned and purified all the surrounding creeks and waterways, and water quality is now back to near pristine condition according to published EPA and Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation studies.

The town is now a tourist attraction, with near daily rail excursions from Blue Ridge, Georgia, on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, and near daily rail excursions from The Gee Creek Wilderness on the Hiwassee River Railroad. Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River also attracts many people and other outdoor activities such as Mountain Biking and Hiking are also popular in the area. The area was the host for the whitewater portion of the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Copper mining and sulfuric acid plant1a34317v
Copper mine and sulfuric acid plant, Copperhill, 1939


Copperhill is located at 34°59′32″N 84°22′27″W / 34.99222°N 84.37417°W / 34.99222; -84.37417 (34.992108, -84.374254), situated in extreme southeast Tennessee, bordering North Georgia.

Its twin city is McCaysville, Georgia, with the two situated as a single town aligned along a northwestward-flowing river, known as the Toccoa River in Georgia, and the Ocoee River in Tennessee, rather than the east/west state line, which cuts diagonally across streets (where it is marked with a blue line) and through buildings. There is a main downtown area, which the town shares with McCaysville, and it retains a historic feel of when it was thriving. The main street through town is Ocoee Street (Tennessee State Route 68) which becomes Toccoa Street (Georgia State Route 60) to the east-southeast in McCaysville. A truss bridge over the river at the state line links them to Blue Ridge Drive (Georgia 5) to the south-southwest.

In the early morning hours of February 16, 1990, a major flood struck the towns, although it is now hard to see any damage from this flooding. The upstream Blue Ridge Dam was raised several feet by the Tennessee Valley Authority, thus greatly minimizing any potential future possible occurrence of flooding. There have been no further incidents with the river flooding.

As a result of the state line, homes and businesses on the Copperhill side of town have area code 423, while those on the McCaysville side have area code 706.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), of which 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (2.08%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,102
1930 1,050 −4.7%
1940 1,005 −4.3%
1950 924 −8.1%
1960 631 −31.7%
1970 563 −10.8%
1980 418 −25.8%
1990 362 −13.4%
2000 511 41.2%
2010 354 −30.7%
Est. 2015 328 −7.3%

As of the census of 2000, there were 511 people, 239 households, and 146 families residing in the city. The population density was 271.9 people per square mile (104.9/km²). There were 274 housing units at an average density of 145.8 per square mile (56.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.46% White, 0.20% Native American, and 2.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.98% of the population.

There were 239 households out of which 20.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the city, the population was spread out with 18.2% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 79.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,313, and the median income for a family was $28,365. Males had a median income of $23,125 versus $18,542 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,677. About 8.7% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Copperhill has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

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