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Dandridge, Tennessee
Town of Dandridge
Storefronts along Gay Street in downtown Dandridge
Storefronts along Gay Street in downtown Dandridge
Official logo of Dandridge, Tennessee
“We Saved a Place For You.”
Location of Dandridge in Jefferson County, Tennessee
Location of Dandridge in Jefferson County, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Jefferson
Founded 1783
Incorporated 1799
Named for Martha Dandridge Washington
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Total 6.47 sq mi (16.77 km2)
 • Land 5.94 sq mi (15.39 km2)
 • Water 0.53 sq mi (1.37 km2)
997 ft (304 m)
 • Total 3,344
 • Estimate 
 • Density 538.69/sq mi (208.00/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 865
FIPS code 47-19380
GNIS feature ID 1282016

Dandridge is a town in and the county seat of Jefferson County, Tennessee, United States. It had a population of 3,344 at the 2020 census. The town is part of the Morristown, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Jefferson, Hamblen, and Grainger counties.

It is considered a suburb of Knoxville based on its proximity to the city, and the connection between the two via Interstate 40.

Dandridge bills itself as the "second oldest town in Tennessee" (behind only Jonesborough in Washington County). Most of the downtown area of Dandridge sits below the high level water mark of Douglas Lake and is protected by a levee made out of stone.


In the 16th century, a substantial Native American chiefdom known as Chiaha was located on Zimmerman's Island, just southwest of Dandridge along the French Broad River. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto spent several weeks at Chiaha in 1540 and Juan Pardo built a small fort near chiefdom's main village in 1567. Both expeditions were in en route to the chiefdom of Coosa in what is now Georgia. Zimmerman's Island is now submerged by Douglas Lake.

View of town - NARA - 280416
Dandridge in 1938

The first Euro-American settlers arrived in Dandridge in 1783. In 1793, the town was officially named the county seat of Jefferson County, which had been created the previous year. The town was named for Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of the first president of the United States.

On December 24, 1863, at the height of the American Civil War, a skirmish occurred at Dandridge as Confederate General James Longstreet and Union General Ambrose Burnside struggled for control of Knoxville. As Longstreet's army retreated to Morristown, a detachment of his army intercepted and routed a pursuing Union brigade just north of Dandridge. The Union troops were forced to fall back to New Market.

The construction of Douglas Dam in 1942 flooded much of the best farmland in Jefferson County, and threatened to flood most all of downtown Dandridge, which was situated below the proposed reservoir's high-water mark. Residents of the town successfully petitioned then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, however, pointing out that Dandridge was the only town in the United States named for the wife of George Washington. The Tennessee Valley Authority constructed a saddle dam between downtown Dandridge and the lake. The dam rises almost immediately behind the Town Hall, and runs roughly parallel to Main Street.


Dandridge is located at 36°1′43″N 83°25′26″W / 36.02861°N 83.42389°W / 36.02861; -83.42389 (36.028493, -83.424010). The town is situated along the northern bank of the Douglas Lake impoundment of the French Broad River, approximately 45 miles (72 km) upstream from the river's confluence with the Holston River and Tennessee River at Knoxville, and approximately 12 miles (19 km) upstream from Douglas Dam.

Dandridge is centered on the junction of State Route 92, which connects the town to Jefferson City to the north and U.S. Route 411 across the lake to the south, and U.S. Route 70, which connects the town to Knoxville to the west and Newport to the east. Interstate 40 intersects Interstate 81 to the northeast of Dandridge.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.3 square miles (14 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 431
1910 447
1920 439 −1.8%
1930 446 1.6%
1940 488 9.4%
1950 690 41.4%
1960 829 20.1%
1970 1,270 53.2%
1980 1,383 8.9%
1990 1,540 11.4%
2000 2,078 34.9%
2010 2,812 35.3%
2019 (est.) 3,202 13.9%

2020 census

Dandridge racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 2,958 88.46%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 106 3.17%
Native American 15 0.45%
Asian 26 0.78%
Pacific Islander 3 0.09%
Other/Mixed 105 3.14%
Hispanic or Latino 131 3.92%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,344 people, 1,107 households, and 796 families residing in the town.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,721 people, 833 households, and 516 families residing in the town. The population density was 509 people per square mile (196.5/km2). There were 833 housing units at an average density of 156.0 per square mile (61.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.44% White, 6.54% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.96% of the population.

There were 749 households, out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,167, and the median income for a family was $40,357. Males had a median income of $31,667 versus $21,176 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,753. About 9.4% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

  • John Caspar Branner (1850–1922), geologist
  • Mr. Fuji (1935–2016), professional wrestler
  • Norman C. Gaddis (b. 1923), Air Force general and POW
  • Hugh T. Inman (1846–1910), entrepreneur and cotton merchant
  • John H. Inman (1844–1896), entrepreneur
  • Samuel M. Inman (1843–1915), entrepreneur and cotton merchant
  • Kane (b. 1967), mayor of Knox County, professional wrestler, actor, and insurer
  • Peter Malnati (b. 1987), professional golfer
  • James Henry Randolph (1825–1900), congressman
  • John Rankin (1795–1886), abolitionist
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