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Smyrna, Tennessee
Town of Smyrna
Smyrna Town Hall, July 2014
Smyrna Town Hall, July 2014
Official seal of Smyrna, Tennessee
Seal
Location of Smyrna in Rutherford County, Tennessee.
Location of Smyrna in Rutherford County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Rutherford
Founded 1855
Incorporated 1869
Named for Ancient Smyrna
Area
 • Total 31.64 sq mi (81.94 km2)
 • Land 31.54 sq mi (81.68 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
Elevation
545 ft (166 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 53,070
 • Density 1,635.73/sq mi (631.56/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
37167
Area code(s) 615
FIPS code 47-69420
GNIS feature ID 1270735
Website Town of Smyrna

Smyrna is a town in Rutherford County, Tennessee. Smyrna's population was 53,070 at the 2020 census. In 2007, U.S. News & World Report listed Smyrna as one of the best places in the United States to retire. Smyrna is part of the Nashville metropolitan statistical area.

History

Sam Davis House
Sam Davis House

The town of Smyrna has its European-American roots in the early 19th century and began as an agrarian community. It was important during the Civil War because its railroad station lies between Nashville and Chattanooga. One of the major events of the war for the town involved the Confederate States hero Sam Davis, who, after being charged with spying, gave up his life instead of giving any information to the Union Army. He was captured November 20, 1863, and was hanged by Union forces on November 27 of that year. The Sam Davis Plantation, located on 160 acres (0.65 km2) of well-maintained farmland, is the town's most important historical site.

Smyrna was originally incorporated in 1869 but its charter was rescinded by the state several years later. In 1915, the town re-incorporated and adopted a commission-mayor form of government.

In 1941 during World War II, Sewart Air Force Base was established here and served as a B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 advanced training facility. During the 1950s and 1960s, the military personnel and dependents totaled more than 10,000 persons stationed at the base. The base was scheduled for closing in 1971. Most of the property was divided among the State of Tennessee, Rutherford County, and the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. On its portion, the state opened and operates a Tennessee Army National Guard base and the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center. Much of the additional land was developed as the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority in 1990.

During the 1970s, many new industries moved to the area. The city began a period of growth stimulated by production of such companies as Better Built Aluminum, Cumberland Swan (currently known as Vi-Jon, Inc.), and Square D building plants. In the early 1980s, planning began to build a Nissan Motors manufacturing plant and, in 1983, the first vehicle was produced. The Nissan plant now employs around 8,400 workers, has a production capacity of 640,000 vehicles annually, and covers an area of 5,200,000 sq ft (480,000 m2). In 2012, Smyrna began manufacturing Nissan's electric car, the Nissan Leaf.

On March 14, 2000, the mayor and board of commissioners adopted a new charter. The city now operates under the city manager form of government, whereby the commissioners hire a city manager for daily operations.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.0 square miles (60 km2), of which 22.8 square miles (59 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.61%) is water.

Portions of the Percy Priest Lake reservoir lies within the town limits. The two main waterways are Stones River and Stewarts Creek.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 215
1920 463
1930 531 14.7%
1940 493 −7.2%
1950 1,544 213.2%
1960 3,612 133.9%
1970 5,698 57.8%
1980 8,839 55.1%
1990 13,647 54.4%
2000 25,569 87.4%
2010 39,974 56.3%
2020 53,070 32.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Smyrna racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 29,728 56.02%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,554 16.12%
Native American 80 0.15%
Asian 3,062 5.77%
Pacific Islander 55 0.1%
Other/Mixed 2,603 4.9%
Hispanic or Latino 8,988 16.94%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 53,070 people, 18,059 households, and 12,282 families residing in the town.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 39,974 people, 14,807 households, and 10,509 families living in the city. The population density was 1,753.25 persons per square mile, and the housing unit density was 649.43 units per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 75.00% White, 11.21% Black or African American, 4.35% Asian, 0.59% Native American, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 6.02% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origins constituted 10.72% of the population.

Of the 14,807 households, 37.23% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 50.46% were married couples living together, 5.54% had a male householder with no wife present, 14.98% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.03% were non-families. 23.03% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.94% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.15.

Of the 39,974 people living in the city, 27.89% were under the age of 18, 63.50% were between the ages of 18 and 64, and 8.60% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.0 years. 51.32% of all persons were female and 48.68% were male.

The median household income in the city was $51,505, and the median family income was $61,286. Males had a median income of $43,633 versus $37,029 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,448. About 9.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under the age of 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 and over.

Parks and recreation

Smyrna has 10 parks, a public golf course, 7 miles of greenway trails and an outdoor water park. A public fitness center located in Town Center includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Economy

The Nissan Smyrna Assembly Plant is the largest automotive assembly plant in the US, making 640,000 cars per year. It began in 1983, and has made more than 10 million cars since then. Manufacturing of batteries for the Leaf began at the site in 2012. Nissan's goal is that the plant in Smyrna will eventually produce 150,000 electric cars, and 200,000 electric car batteries per year. In addition to serving as the U.S. production site for the Leaf, the plant assembles five other models.

The top employers in the city are:

  • Nissan (automobile manufacturing): 8,400
  • Asurion (communications): 1,165
  • Vi-Jon (personal care products): 737
  • Stonecrest Medical Center (hospital): 550
  • Taylor Farms (produce): 550
  • Square D/Schneider Electric (electrical products): 474

Prior to their dissolution, RegionsAir (formerly Corporate Airlines) and Capitol Air were headquartered in Smyrna.

Education

Smyrna is served by the Rutherford County Schools school district.

Public schools

  • Cedar Grove Elementary (Timberwolves)
  • David Youree Elementary School (Eagles)
  • John Colemon Elementary School
  • Smyrna Elementary School
  • Smyrna Primary School (Huskies)
  • Stewartsboro Elementary School (Stallions)
  • Stewarts Creek Elementary School (Cardinals)
  • Rock Springs Middle School (Knights)
  • Rocky Fork Elementary School (Thunder)
  • Rocky Fork Middle School (Storms)
  • Rutherford County Virtual School (Trailblazers)
  • Smyrna Middle School (Panthers)
  • Stewarts Creek Middle School (Falcons)
  • Smyrna High School (Bulldogs)
  • Stewarts Creek High School (Redhawks)
  • Smyrna West Alternative School
  • Thurman Francis Arts Academy (Rams)

Private schools

  • Community Christian Day School
  • Lancaster Christian Academy

Notable people

  • William Barksdale Confederate general and Mississippi politician. Born in Smyrna in 1821, died at the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Sam Davis, Confederate spy. Born 1842. The Sam Davis home is located in Smyrna.
  • Johnny Gooch, Major League Baseball player, coach and scout; born in Smyrna in 1897.
  • Sonny Gray, Major League pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds; born in 1989.
  • Ben H. Guill, former U.S. Representative from Texas; born in Smyrna in 1909.
  • Jalen Ramsey, NFL cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams; born in Nashville in 1994, lived in Smyrna
  • Townes Van Zandt (1944–1997), musician.
  • Patricia McKissack Prolific African American children's writer. Born in Smyrna on August 9, 1944.
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