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Jellico, Tennessee
North Main Street
North Main Street
Location of Jellico in Campbell County, Tennessee.
Location of Jellico in Campbell County, Tennessee.
Jellico, Tennessee is located in Tennessee
Jellico, Tennessee
Jellico, Tennessee
Location in Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Campbell
Founded 1878
Incorporated 1883
Named for Jellico coal
 • Total 6.29 sq mi (16.29 km2)
 • Land 6.22 sq mi (16.11 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
982 ft (298 m)
 • Total 2,355
 • Estimate 
 • Density 348.13/sq mi (134.42/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-38020
GNIS feature ID 1289336

Jellico is a city in Campbell County, Tennessee, United States, on the state border with Kentucky, 58 miles (93 km) by road north of Knoxville. The population was 2,355 at the 2010 census.


The name "Jellico" is a regional corruption of "Angelica", an herb that grows in abundance in the surrounding mountains. The name was first applied to the mountains to the west and to the mountains' main drainage, Jellico Creek, which passes 5 miles (8 km) west of the city of Jellico and empties into the Cumberland River near Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Proctor Coal Co 1910
A child laborer at Proctor Coal near Jellico, 1910. Photo by Lewis Hine.

In the early 1880s, a high quality bituminous coal was discovered in the Jellico Mountains, and with the completion of railroad tracks to the area in 1883, coal mines quickly sprang up throughout the area. The city of Jellico was initially founded as "Smithburg" in 1878, but changed its name to "Jellico" in 1883 to capitalize on the growing popularity of Jellico coal. The city was incorporated on March 7, 1883.

Throughout the 1890s and early 1900s, Jellico was one of the most productive coal fields in Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1906, a railroad car packed with dynamite exploded in Jellico, killing eight and destroying part of the town. The town quickly recovered, however, and many of the buildings in the Main Street area date from this period.

In 1971, Indian Mountain State Park was created at the site of a reclaimed strip mine in western Jellico. In 1999, much of North and South Main Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Jellico Commercial Historic District.


Jellico is located along the northern border of Tennessee at 36°34′57″N 84°7′50″W / 36.58250°N 84.13056°W / 36.58250; -84.13056 (36.582627, -84.130608). The city is situated amidst the Cumberland Mountains in the valley of Elk Creek, which flows north into Kentucky. Jellico spans the western bases and slopes of three steep hills that split the Elk Creek valley from the larger Clear Fork valley to the east. A prominent knob known as Indian Mountain rises nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) above Jellico to the west, and is visible from most of the city. This mountain and an adjacent lake are now home to Indian Mountain State Park. The larger Jellico Mountain dominates the area beyond Indian Mountain to the west, and Pine Mountain dominates the area beyond the Clear Fork Valley to the east.

Jellico is concentrated around the junction of U.S. Route 25W (North Main Street and 5th Street), which connects Jellico to Interstate 75 to the southeast and Corbin, Kentucky, to the north, and Tennessee State Route 297 (South Main Street), which connects Jellico with Huntsville to the southwest. The Tennessee-Kentucky state line forms Jellico's official northern boundary, although houses and businesses associated with the city are on both sides of the border.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (16.5 km2), of which 6.3 square miles (16.3 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.15%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 758
1900 1,283 69.3%
1910 1,862 45.1%
1920 1,878 0.9%
1930 1,530 −18.5%
1940 1,581 3.3%
1950 1,556 −1.6%
1960 2,210 42.0%
1970 2,235 1.1%
1980 2,798 25.2%
1990 2,447 −12.5%
2000 2,448 0.0%
2010 2,355 −3.8%
2019 (est.) 2,165 −8.1%

2020 census

Jellico racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 2,043 94.85%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 31 1.44%
Native American 6 0.28%
Asian 3 0.14%
Other/Mixed 62 2.88%
Hispanic or Latino 9 0.42%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 2,154 people, 974 households, and 526 families residing in the city.


Since 1922, Jellico has been the home of the denominational headquarters for the Church of God Mountain Assembly, a holiness Pentecostal Christian denomination.



Jellico Community Hospital is the largest employer with approximately 350 employees.

There are several restaurants, hotels/motels and gas stations located off Jellico's exit of Interstate 75, Exit 160. A Tennessee Welcome Center is located along the interstate just south of the state line.

Notable people

Jellico was the childhood home of Grace Moore, soprano star of opera, musical theatre, and film, and Homer Rodeheaver, hymn-writer, trombonist, and pioneer in the recording of sacred music.

See also

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

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