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Kingston, Tennessee
City of Kingston
Location of Kingston in Roane County, Tennessee.
Location of Kingston in Roane County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Roane
Settled 1792
Incorporated 1799
Named for Maj. Robert King, officer at Fort Southwest Point
 • Total 7.97 sq mi (20.65 km2)
 • Land 7.09 sq mi (18.36 km2)
 • Water 0.89 sq mi (2.29 km2)
764 ft (233 m)
 • Total 5,934
 • Estimate 
 • Density 845.77/sq mi (326.55/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 865
FIPS code 47-39620

Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Roane County, Tennessee, United States. This city is thirty-six miles southwest of Knoxville. It had a population of 5,934 at the 2010 United States census, and is included in the Harriman Micropolitan Statistical Area. Kingston is adjacent to Watts Bar Lake.


Kingston has its roots in Fort Southwest Point, which was built just south of present-day Kingston in 1792. At the time, Southwest Point was on the fringe of the legal settlement area for Euro-Americans. A Cherokee village, headed by Chief Tollunteeskee, was situated just across the river, at what is now Rockwood. In 1805, Colonel Return J. Meigs, who operated out of Southwest Point, was appointed Cherokee Agent, effectively moving the agency from the Tellico Blockhouse to Southwest Point. The city of Kingston was established on October 23, 1799, as part of an effort to partition Knox County (the initial effort to form a separate county failed, but succeeded two years later). Kingston was named after Major Robert King, an officer at Fort Southwest Point in the 1790s.

Building in Kingston used briefly as Tennessee's state capitol in 1807, photographed in 1889

On September 21, 1807, Kingston was Tennessee's state capital for one day. The Tennessee General Assembly convened in Kingston that day due to an agreement with the Cherokee, who had been told that if the Cherokee Nation ceded the land that is now Roane County, Kingston would become the capital of Tennessee. After adjourning that day, the Assembly resumed meeting in Knoxville.

At the outset of the Civil War in 1861, Kingston was selected as the site of the third session of the East Tennessee Convention, which attempted to form a new, Union-aligned state in East Tennessee. Due to the Confederate occupation of the region, however, this third session, which was scheduled for August 1861, never took place. In October 1861, William B. Carter and several co-conspirators planned the East Tennessee bridge burnings from a command post in Kingston. On November 24, 1863, Confederate Cavalry under Joseph Wheeler numbering about 500–1,000 men tried to take Kingston from the Union, but they were unsuccessful.

In 1955, the Tennessee Valley Authority completed work on the Kingston Fossil Plant, which at the time was the world's largest coal-burning power plant. The plant, which consumes roughly 14,000 short tons (13,000 t) of coal daily, can produce up to 1,456 megawatts of electricity. The plant's 1,000-foot (305 m) smokestacks are a familiar sight to those driving on the Roane County stretch of Interstate 40. On December 22, 2008, a 40-acre (0.16 km2) impoundment containing fly ash slurry from the power plant broke, spilling more than 1 billion US gallons (3,800,000 m3) of waste into the surrounding area.


The Kingston power plant

The town is situated at the confluence of the Clinch, Emory, and Tennessee rivers. These confluences are now part of Watts Bar Lake, a reservoir created by the impoundment of the Tennessee by Watts Bar Dam several miles to the southwest.

Kingston is located near the junction of U.S. Route 70, which connects Kingston with Knoxville to the east and Nashville to the west, and State Route 58, which connects Kingston with Oak Ridge to the northeast and Chattanooga to the south. Interstate 40 passes through Kingston, running roughly parallel to U.S. 70.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.8 square miles (20.3 km2), of which 7.1 square miles (18.4 km2) is land and 0.73 square miles (1.9 km2), or 9.56%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 386
1860 307 −20.5%
1870 739 140.7%
1880 858 16.1%
1900 548
1910 824 50.4%
1920 516 −37.4%
1930 827 60.3%
1940 880 6.4%
1950 1,627 84.9%
1960 2,010 23.5%
1970 4,142 106.1%
1980 4,441 7.2%
1990 4,552 2.5%
2000 5,264 15.6%
2010 5,934 12.7%
2019 (est.) 5,994 1.0%

2020 census

Kingston racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 5,309 89.18%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 203 3.41%
Native American 9 0.15%
Asian 56 0.94%
Pacific Islander 2 0.03%
Other/Mixed 242 4.07%
Hispanic or Latino 132 2.22%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 5,953 people, 2,225 households, and 1,335 families residing in the city.


Roane County News

Notable people

See also

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