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Etowah, Tennessee facts for kids

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Tennessee Avenue (US 411) in Etowah
Tennessee Avenue (US 411) in Etowah
Location of Etowah in McMinn County, Tennessee.
Location of Etowah in McMinn County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County McMinn
Founded 1906
Incorporated 1909
Named for Creek (Muskogee) word for "The Town", the nickname for Coosa, capital of the northern Creeks
 • Type Council/Manager
 • Total 2.83 sq mi (7.32 km2)
 • Land 2.83 sq mi (7.32 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
807 ft (246 m)
 • Total 3,534
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,236.38/sq mi (477.38/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-24480
GNIS feature ID 1328151

Etowah is a city in McMinn County in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The population was 3,613 at the 2020 census.


Etowah was founded in 1906, primarily as a location for a depot on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) line as part of a more direct route between Atlanta and Cincinnati. The etymology of the town name is unclear, but local folklore states that a train crew brought a sign reading "Etowah" from the Etowah River, and the name stuck. The word Etowah comes from the Muskogee/Creek word italwa meaning "town."

In 1902, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad announced its plan to build a more direct line from Atlanta to Cincinnati in order to avoid the rugged mountains of North Georgia and East Tennessee bypassing the Great Hiwassee Loop. A point midway between these cities was needed to service cars and change crews, and at the end of 1904, land had been purchased in McMinn County to serve as this site and the city of Etowah was planned. The L & N purchased 1,454 acres (5.88 km2) for the main terminus (depot), maintenance and repair facilities (shops), railroad yards and proposed township to support the railroad workforce. This land was purchased at $10 to $20 per acre and the L&N set about building a major rail center and the town of Etowah.

Out of what was referred to then as a wet swampland, a boomtown sprung up in 1906 with the L & N Depot serving as the hub of the new town's business and social activities. Since then, the City of Etowah has ridden the waves of economic downturns and successes, such as the closing of the L & N shops in the 1930s and the recruitment of new industries, to evolve into the city that it is today. Etowah has seen positive growth in industry and retail over the past decade.

In 1974, Etowah residents Doug, Carol and Michael Tullock started the Bargain Barn grocery store, which has since grown into a chain that includes 35 stores in 5 states.

On April 3, 1974, an F3 tornado struck southern Etowah, destroying 23 homes and killing 3 people. The tornado was one of many in the 1974 Super Outbreak.


Etowah is located at 35°19′46″N 84°31′42″W / 35.32944°N 84.52833°W / 35.32944; -84.52833 (35.329579, -84.528196).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.2 km²), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,685
1920 2,516 49.3%
1930 4,209 67.3%
1940 3,362 −20.1%
1950 3,261 −3.0%
1960 3,223 −1.2%
1970 3,736 15.9%
1980 3,758 0.6%
1990 3,815 1.5%
2000 3,663 −4.0%
2010 3,490 −4.7%
2019 (est.) 3,494 0.1%

2020 census

Etowah racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,116 86.48%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 106 2.66%
Native American 8 0.22%
Asian 21 0.58%
Other/Mixed 179 4.97%
Hispanic or Latino 183 5.08%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,613 people, 1,256 households, and 882 families residing in the city.


L&N Depot museum
in Etowah

The Historic L&N Depot museum in downtown Etowah is considered by many to be the main attraction in this small town. The historically African-American "Parkstown" neighborhood on the south side of Etowah has also seen renewed interest from tourists in recent years. An obvious presence in Etowah is the Gem Theater. Located in a building originally built in 1927 and purchased by the city of Etowah in 1993 and now is the location of local plays, concerts, movies and other events.


Etowah City Elementary School District operates a K-8 school, Etowah School. McMinn County Schools operates the K-8 Mountain View Elementary School, which has an Etowah postal address but is outside of the city limits.

McMinn County Schools serves the city for high school. McMinn Central High School, between Etowah and Englewood, of the latter, serves area 9th-12th grade students. It was served by Etowah High School before McMinn Central opened in fall 1966, with students from Englewood and Etowah.

Notable people

  • Paul Cantrell, politician and state senator.
  • Al Clayton, photographer.
  • Leon Daniel, journalist.
  • Steel Arm Dickey, Negro leagues pitcher.
  • Tom Saffell, former major league outfielder.
  • Thomas W. Steed, United States military officer during World War II.
  • Chris Whittle, American media and education executive.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Etowah (Tennessee) para niños

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