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Unicoi, Tennessee
Unicoi Town Hall
Unicoi Town Hall
Location of Unicoi in Unicoi County, Tennessee.
Location of Unicoi in Unicoi County, Tennessee.
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Unicoi
Incorporated 1994
Named for Unaka, Cherokee for "white"
 • Total 16.19 sq mi (41.93 km2)
 • Land 16.19 sq mi (41.93 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,923 ft (586 m)
 • Total 3,632
 • Estimate 
 • Density 221.99/sq mi (85.71/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-75820
GNIS feature ID 1304219

Unicoi is a town in Unicoi County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 3,519 at the 2000 census and 3,632 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–KingsportBristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.


Unicoi was originally known as "Greasy Cove." In 1851, the Swingle brothers opened a post office in the community, and named it "Swingleville." In 1876, Dr. F.H. Hannum obtained control of the post office, and changed its name to "Limonite." When the railroads arrived in the valley in the late 1880s, the name was changed to "Unicoi City," and later shortened to its current form. The town developed in the early 20th century as a shipping point for area mining and logging operations.


Unicoi is located at 36°13′12″N 82°20′17″W / 36.22000°N 82.33806°W / 36.22000; -82.33806 (36.220028, -82.338138). The town is situated in the North Indian Creek Valley (known locally as "The Valley Beautiful"), at a point where North Indian Creek emerges from the mountains to the southeast and bends to the southwest toward Erwin and its eventual confluence with the Nolichucky River. The northern portions of Unicoi are located in the headwaters of Buffalo Creek, which flows northeastward (in the opposite direction from North Indian Creek) and eventually empties into the Watauga River.

Unicoi viewed from Buffalo Mountain

Unicoi is surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest. Buffalo Mountain rises prominently to the west of Unicoi, and a series of rugged hills and ridges that comprise the outer Unaka Mountains rise to the east. Erwin, the county seat, is located further down the valley to the southwest. Johnson City is located opposite Buffalo Mountain to the north.

Interstate 26, which traverses the valley, passes through western Unicoi. Tennessee State Route 107 connects Unicoi with Erwin to the southwest and the rural Limestone Cove area to the east. Tennessee State Route 173 connects the town with U.S. Route 19E.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.3 square miles (42 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 3,519
2010 3,632 3.2%
2019 (est.) 3,594 −1.0%

2020 census

Unicoi racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,377 88.1%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 7 0.18%
Native American 12 0.31%
Asian 4 0.1%
Other/Mixed 115 3.0%
Hispanic or Latino 318 8.3%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,833 people, 1,421 households, and 909 families residing in the town.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Unicoi (Tennessee) para niños

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