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Grainger County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Grainger County
Grainger County Courthouse in Rutledge
Grainger County Courthouse in Rutledge
Map of Tennessee highlighting Grainger County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded 1796
Named for Mary Grainger Blount
Seat Rutledge
Largest city Bean Station
 • Total 302 sq mi (780 km2)
 • Land 281 sq mi (730 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (60 km2)  7.2%%
 • Total 22,657
 • Density 81/sq mi (31/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Grainger County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,657. Its county seat is Rutledge. It is renowned for its tomatoes.

Grainger County is included in the Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Grainger County was formed from Knox and Hawkins Counties in 1796, the year Tennessee became a state. It is named for Mary Grainger Blount, wife of William Blount. Anderson, Claiborne, Campbell, Hamblen, Hancock, Scott and Union Counties were formed from parts of the original Grainger County.

Like many East Tennessee counties, Grainger County was generally opposed to secession from the Union. In Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession referendum on June 8, 1861, Grainger County voters rejected secession by 1,756 to 495.


US-11W near Blaine, with Clinch Mountain rising in the distance

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 302 square miles (780 km2), of which 281 square miles (730 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (7.2%) is water. Grainger County is bounded on the northwest by the Clinch River (impounded by Norris Dam to form Norris Lake) and on the southeast by the Holston River (including Cherokee Lake). Clinch Mountain is a major geographic feature that effectively separates the county into a southern section (including Rutledge) and a northern section (including Washburn).

Indian Cave

Indian Cave is an historic site located on the Holston River near present-day Blaine. The cave was used for centuries before Europeans entered the area, as indigenous peoples settled in the area about 1000 CE. Remains of cane torches and other artifacts located in the cave indicate use by prehistoric indigenous peoples. The Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee migrated into the area from the northeast, making the eastern Ohio River valley and Appalachians down into South Carolina their historic territory.

In the 1700s, a Cherokee village was located just west of the main cave entrance, before the people were pushed out by encroaching Anglo-American settlers. The Donelson Party passed the Indian Cave entrance on their way down the Holston River in 1779 to settle present-day Nashville, Tennessee. In the years after the American Revolutionary War, the number of settlers continued to increase. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, Congress authorized the president to remove the Indians from the Southeast to territory west of the Mississippi River.

Robert Hoke, a former Confederate general from North Carolina, purchased the cave on July 21, 1869 as one of his business enterprises after the American Civil War. He had it mined for bat guano, a valuable natural fertilizer.

Area businessmen formed the Indian Cave Park Association on January 4, 1916 to develop the cave as a commercial attraction, as was being done for other caves throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. The Association did not open the cave officially to the public until May 30, 1924. The cave is still open to visitors.

Adjacent counties

State protected areas

  • Buffalo Springs Wildlife Management Area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 7,367
1810 6,397 −13.2%
1820 7,651 19.6%
1830 10,066 31.6%
1840 10,572 5.0%
1850 12,370 17.0%
1860 10,962 −11.4%
1870 12,421 13.3%
1880 12,384 −0.3%
1890 13,196 6.6%
1900 15,512 17.6%
1910 13,888 −10.5%
1920 13,369 −3.7%
1930 12,737 −4.7%
1940 14,356 12.7%
1950 13,086 −8.8%
1960 12,506 −4.4%
1970 13,948 11.5%
1980 16,751 20.1%
1990 17,095 2.1%
2000 20,659 20.8%
2010 22,657 9.7%
Est. 2015 22,846 0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Grainger County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Grainger County

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,659 people, 8,270 households, and 6,161 families residing in the county. The population density was 74 people per square mile (28/km²). There were 9,732 housing units at an average density of 35 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.41% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 1.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,270 households out of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 8.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.50% were non-families. 22.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.90% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,997, and the median income for a family was $33,347. Males had a median income of $25,781 versus $19,410 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,505. About 15.10% of families and 18.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.40% of those under age 18 and 26.00% of those age 65 or over.



  • Bean Station


Unincorporated communities

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