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Union County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Union County
County of Union
Union County Courthouse in Maynardville
Union County Courthouse in Maynardville
Flag of Union County
Official logo of Union County
Map of Tennessee highlighting Union County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded 1850
Named for Either its creation from parts of five other counties or its support for the Union during the Civil War
Seat Maynardville
Largest city Maynardville
 • Total 247 sq mi (640 km2)
 • Land 224 sq mi (580 km2)
 • Water 24 sq mi (60 km2)  9.5%%
 • Total 19,802 Increase
 • Density 85/sq mi (33/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
37721, 37779, 37807, 37866, 37705
Area code 865
Congressional district 3rd

Union County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, its population was 19,109. Its county seat is Maynardville. Union County is included in the Knoxville metropolitan statistical area.


Union County was formed in 1850 from portions of Grainger, Claiborne, Campbell, Anderson and Knox counties. There are at least two theories on the source of its name. The name may commemorate the "union" of sections of five counties, or it may reflect East Tennessee's support for the preservation of the Union in the years before the Civil War. The county seat was originally named "Liberty," but renamed "Maynardville" in honor of attorney and congressman, Horace Maynard, who had defended the county in a court case that sought to block its formation.

In the 1930s, the damming of the Clinch River by Norris Dam to form Norris Lake inundated a large part of the county, including the community of Loyston, and displaced many residents. With assistance from the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) developed Big Ridge State Park as a demonstration park on the shore of the lake in Union County. The park's recreational facilities opened in May 1934.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 247 square miles (640 km2), of which 224 square miles (580 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (9.5%) is water. The county is situated in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, a range characterized by long, narrow ridges alternating with similarly-shaped valleys. Prominent ridges in Union County include Copper Ridge, Hinds Ridge and Lone Mountain. The southern end of Clinch Mountain forms part of the county's border with Grainger County to the east.

Norris Lake, near Big Ridge State Park

The Clinch River, Union County's primary stream, flows through the northern part of the county. This section of the river is part of Norris Lake. Big Ridge Dam, a small non-generating dam, impounds an inlet of Norris Lake, creating Big Ridge Lake at Big Ridge State Park. The "Loyston Sea," one of the widest sections of Norris Lake, is located in Union County just north of the state park.

Adjacent counties

State protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,117
1870 7,605 24.3%
1880 10,260 34.9%
1890 11,459 11.7%
1900 12,894 12.5%
1910 11,414 −11.5%
1920 11,615 1.8%
1930 11,371 −2.1%
1940 9,030 −20.6%
1950 8,670 −4.0%
1960 8,498 −2.0%
1970 9,072 6.8%
1980 11,707 29.0%
1990 13,694 17.0%
2000 17,808 30.0%
2010 19,109 7.3%
2020 19,802 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Union County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Union County

2020 census

Union County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 18,642 94.14%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 53 0.27%
Native American 33 0.17%
Asian 36 0.18%
Pacific Islander 5 0.03%
Other/Mixed 629 3.18%
Hispanic or Latino 404 2.04%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,802 people, 7,405 households, and 5,471 families residing in the county.


  • Roy Acuff Museum
  • Union County Arts Co-operative
  • Big Ridge State Park


Back of the old Hamilton-Lay store
The old Hamilton-Lay store at Hamilton Crossroads, east of Maynardville


Unincorporated communities

Ghost town


Top employers

According to a data profile produced by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in 2018, the top employers in the county are:

Employer Employees
1 Union County School District 350
2 Clayton Homes (Maynardville) 350
3 Union County 150
4 Food City 100
5 O-N Minerals Company 100


  • Big Ridge Elementary School
  • Horace Maynard Middle School (previously Horace Maynard High School until 1997)
  • Luttrell Elementary School
  • Maynardville Elementary School
  • Paulette Elementary School
  • Sharps Chapel Elementary School
  • Tennessee Virtual Academy
  • Union County Alternative Center, grades 6-12
  • Union County High School

Notable people

  • Roy Acuff, entertainer
  • Chet Atkins, entertainer
  • Jake Butcher, former banker and politician, convicted of fraud
  • Kenny Chesney, entertainer
  • John Rice Irwin, historian and founder of Museum of Appalachia
  • Florence Reece, who wrote the song "Which Side Are You On?", was born in Sharps Chapel in 1900.
  • Carl Smith, entertainer

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Union (Tennessee) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Contemporary Hispanic artists
Firelei Báez
Coco Fusco
Diana Guerrero-Maciá
Harmonia Rosales
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