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Smithville, Tennessee
Smithville Watertower
Smithville Watertower
Location of Smithville, Tennessee
Location of Smithville, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County DeKalb
Founded 1838
Incorporated 1843
Named for Samuel Granville Smith, local politician
 • Type Mayor-Aldermanic
 • Total 5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2)
 • Land 5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
1,037 ft (316 m)
 • Total 4,530
 • Density 767/sq mi (296.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 615
FIPS code 47-69320
GNIS feature ID 1313778

Smithville is a city in DeKalb County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 4,530 at the 2010 census, up from 3,994 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of DeKalb County. Smithville is home to the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree, which it has hosted annually since 1972.


Smithville is located in central DeKalb County at 35°57′26″N 85°49′15″W / 35.95722°N 85.82083°W / 35.95722; -85.82083 (35.957191, -85.820756). U.S. Route 70 passes through the town as Broad Street, leading east 21 miles (34 km) to Sparta and northwest 36 miles (58 km) to Lebanon. Tennessee State Route 56 (Congress Boulevard) crosses US 70 a few blocks southeast of the center of town and leads north 13 miles (21 km) to Interstate 40 at Silver Point and 19 miles (31 km) south to McMinnville. Cookeville is 28 miles (45 km) to the northeast, and Nashville is 65 miles (105 km) to the west.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15.3 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 572
1920 687
1930 886 29.0%
1940 919 3.7%
1950 1,558 69.5%
1960 2,348 50.7%
1970 2,997 27.6%
1980 3,839 28.1%
1990 3,791 −1.3%
2000 3,994 5.4%
2010 4,530 13.4%
Est. 2015 4,640 2.4%

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,994 people, 1,675 households, and 1,065 families residing in the city. The population density was 679.4 people per square mile (262.3/km²). There were 1,837 housing units at an average density of 312.5 per square mile (120.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.34% White, 2.73% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 1.65% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.06% of the population.

Market Street

There were 1,675 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.0% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,482, and the median income for a family was $30,179. Males had a median income of $29,231 versus $20,705 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,854. About 15.4% of families and 22.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.3% of those under age 18 and 25.8% of those age 65 or over.

In popular culture

Smithville is referred to by a local-boy Marine talking to a girl and pointing to labels on a map during a dance hall scene, 17 minutes into the 1949 World War II John Wayne film, Sands of Iwo Jima, where it is mentioned, apart from everybody in his family being related to much of Tennessee, as being famous for "corn tobacco" and "more fertilizer than any other place in the world".

Fiddler's Jamboree

Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree & Crafts Festival
Genre Bluegrass music, old-time music
Years active 1972-present
Attendance 100,000+

Joe L. Evins helped start the world famous Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree & Crafts Festival. The first Jamboree was held in July 1972 on a stage built on the steps of the DeKalb County Courthouse, and has been held there annually on the weekend nearest to July 4. The first Jamboree attracted 714 musicians from 16 states, and was attended by an estimated audience of 8,000. Present day audiences are estimated to be well over 100,000 from all over the U.S., and many from abroad.


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