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Trenton, Tennessee
A tea-rrific place to live!
Location of Trenton, Tennessee
Location of Trenton, Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Gibson
Established 1824
Incorporated 1847
Named for Trenton, New Jersey
 • Total 8.2 sq mi (21.2 km2)
 • Land 8.1 sq mi (21.1 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
331 ft (101 m)
 • Total 4,264
 • Density 524/sq mi (202.2/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-75000
GNIS feature ID 1304159

Trenton is a city in Gibson County, Tennessee. The population was 4,264 at the 2010 census, down from 4,683 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Gibson County, and its third largest city.


Trenton is located in central Gibson County at 35°58′25″N 88°56′30″W / 35.97361°N 88.94167°W / 35.97361; -88.94167 (35.973627, -88.941569). U.S. Route 45W passes through the east side of the city, bypassing downtown. It leads north 33 miles (53 km) to Union City and south 30 miles (48 km) to Jackson. Milan is 12 miles (19 km) to the southeast via Tennessee State Route 77, Bradford is 10 miles (16 km) to the northeast via State Route 54, Alamo is 18 miles (29 km) to the southwest, also via State Route 54, and Dyersburg is 26 miles (42 km) to the west via State Route 104.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Trenton has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.2 km2), of which 8.1 square miles (21.1 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.64%, are water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 694
1860 1,908 174.9%
1870 1,900 −0.4%
1880 1,383 −27.2%
1890 1,693 22.4%
1900 2,328 37.5%
1910 2,402 3.2%
1920 2,751 14.5%
1930 2,892 5.1%
1940 3,400 17.6%
1950 3,868 13.8%
1960 4,225 9.2%
1970 4,226 0.0%
1980 4,601 8.9%
1990 4,836 5.1%
2000 4,683 −3.2%
2010 4,264 −8.9%
Est. 2015 4,134 −3.0%

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,683 people, 1,919 households, and 1,207 families residing in the city. The population density was 847.3 people per square mile (327.0/km²). There were 2,090 housing units at an average density of 378.2 per square mile (145.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.17% White, 32.67% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.98% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.71% of the population.

There were 1,919 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 20.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 84.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,535, and the median income for a family was $39,630. Males had a median income of $29,675 versus $20,801 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,225. About 12.9% of families and 17.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.4% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.


Gibson County Electric Membership Corporation - NARA - 280204 cropped
The Gibson County Electric Membership Corporation which still serves Trenton, in 1940

Trenton is most famous for its collection of rare antique porcelain veilleuses, donated by the late Dr. Frederick C. Freed in 1955. The teapots are unique because the candle's glow illuminates the pot's exterior, thus serving as a night light. None of the 525 teapots in this collection are alike, and some are designed as palaces or people in unique still-life castings. The town celebrates its collection with an annual "Teapot Festival" held each spring since 1981.

A 31 mph speed limit sign in Trenton

Trenton is also known for its unusual speed limit of 31 miles per hour (50 km/h), established by the city in the 1950s and posted by signs throughout the town.

Nite Lite Theatre of Gibson County is a non-profit community theatre project based in Trenton, and established in 1980 with the intent of bringing theatrical presentations to Gibson and the surrounding counties. All work, with the exception of some production staff, is done on a volunteer basis. With most performances at Peabody High School, the history of Nite Lite Theatre includes performances of The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Sound of Music, Dearly Departed, and You Can't Take It with You.

Trenton is also the home of the Gibson County Saddle Club, providing emphasis to the agricultural and equestrian history of Gibson County. This non-profit organization allows for Western and English-style horsemanship, both in fellowship and training.

Notable natives

  • Robert M. Bond, United States Air Force general
  • Dave Brown, meteorologist and weatherman for Memphis TV station WMC channel 5, an NBC affiliate
  • John Wesley Crockett, member of the United States House of Representatives who was born in Trenton
  • Gene Hickerson, Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns who was born in Trenton
  • Lew Jetton, known as a blues guitarist/singer, while also spending many years as a meteorologist and local television personality, was raised near Trenton
  • Ben H. Love, eighth Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America
  • Peter Matthew Hillsman Taylor, author of the novel A Summons to Memphis, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1987
  • Wallace Wade, college football coach
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