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Norris, Tennessee
City of Norris
Post office and Archer's Food Center in Norris
Post office and Archer's Food Center in Norris
Location of Norris in Anderson County, Tennessee.
Location of Norris in Anderson County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Anderson
Established 1933
Incorporated 1949
Named for George W. Norris
 • Total 8.33 sq mi (21.58 km2)
 • Land 8.33 sq mi (21.58 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,073 ft (327 m)
 • Total 1,491
 • Estimate 
 • Density 192.25/sq mi (74.23/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
37705, 37828
Area code(s) 865
FIPS code 47-53600
GNIS feature ID 1295831

Norris is a city in Anderson County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 1,491 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Knoxville, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Norris was built as a model planned community by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1933 to house workers building Norris Dam on the Clinch River. It is named in honor of Nebraska Senator George W. Norris, a long-term supporter of the TVA.


TVA chairman Arthur Morgan envisioned Norris as a model of cooperative, egalitarian living. The city design was developed by TVA staff, who loosely based their design on the English garden city movement of the 1890s. Winding roads followed the contour of the terrain. Houses did not always face the street. A central common green and a belt of rural land around the town were reserved for use by residents. The houses, which were some of the first all-electric homes, were built using local wood and stone, according to twelve basic house designs that each included a porch and fireplace. Different exterior materials were used for visual variety.

Hydraulics laboratory building in the 1930s

Norris represents the first use of greenbelt design principles in a self-contained town in the United States. The town was the first in Tennessee to have a complete system of dial telephones. Norris Creamery was the first milk-producing plant in the world to be powered solely by electricity.

During the 1930s TVA officials excluded black families from the city, purportedly to conform to the customs and traditions of the area. However, black leaders said that poor whites and blacks had lived and worked together in the area long before the TVA came into existence. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) complained repeatedly (in 1934, 1935 and 1938) about racial discrimination by the TVA in the hiring, housing and training of blacks.

In 1948 the U.S. Congress directed that the city be sold at public auction. It was purchased for US$2.1 million by a Philadelphia investment group headed by Henry D. Epstein, which then sold individual homes to their residents. The city was officially incorporated in 1949. In 1953 the Epstein group sold its remaining Norris real estate to a corporation formed by Norris residents and known as the Norris Corporation.

Norris District
One of the standard house designs in the planned community of Norris
Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 420: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Location Town of Norris on U.S. 441, Norris, Tennessee
Built 1934
Architect Tennessee Valley Authority
NRHP reference No. 75001727
Added to NRHP July 10, 1975

The town, including 340 buildings and an area of about 4,000 acres (16 km2), was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as an historic district, designated the Norris District.

Today Norris primarily serves as a bedroom community for Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Services available within the community include one elementary school serving grades K-5, one middle school serving grades 6–8, a small grocer, and many other small businesses. The community's high school students attend Anderson County High School.

The Museum of Appalachia, founded by John Rice Irwin, is a popular attraction in Norris. Norris is a short distance from Norris Dam State Park, part of which is in the city, and Big Ridge State Park, which include popular camping areas.


Norris is located in northern Anderson County at 36°11′58″N 84°4′9″W / 36.19944°N 84.06917°W / 36.19944; -84.06917 (36.199515, −84.069077), on a set of hills south of the Clinch River. U.S. Route 441, the Norris Freeway, arcs around the west side of the city, leading south 21 miles (34 km) to Knoxville and northwest 10 miles (16 km) to Lake City. Interstate 75 passes 2 miles (3 km) to the southwest of the city, with access via Tennessee State Route 61 from Exit 122.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (18.6 km2), all of it land. A large portion of this area is contained in the Norris Municipal Watershed, which has an area of more than 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) and is managed for water supply, recreation, timber production, and wildlife, including deer hunting. There are nearly 20 miles (32 km) of recreation trails on the watershed area.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 1,134
1960 1,389 22.5%
1970 1,359 −2.2%
1980 1,374 1.1%
1990 1,303 −5.2%
2000 1,446 11.0%
2010 1,491 3.1%
Est. 2019 1,602 7.4%

2020 census

Norris racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 1,501 93.87%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 6 0.38%
Native American 4 0.25%
Asian 9 0.56%
Other/Mixed 49 3.06%
Hispanic or Latino 30 1.88%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,599 people, 585 households, and 330 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,491 people living in the city.

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