Cities Near Johnson City, TN
Local city information for Johnson City, TN
is a city in Carter, Sullivan, and Washington Counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee, with most of the city being in Washington County. The population was 55,469 at the 2000 census. Johnson City is currently ranked the #25 "Best Small Place for Business and Careers" in the USA by Forbes, and #8 "Best Place for African-Americans to Retire" in the USA by Black Enterprise Magazine.
Johnson City is the principal city of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Carter, Unicoi, and Washington counties and had a combined population of 181,607 at the 2000 census. The estimated population for the metropolitan statistical area in 2007 was 193,554. The Johnson City MSA is also a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
Founded in 1856 by Henry Johnson as a railroad station called "Johnson's Depot," Johnson City became a major rail hub for the southeast, as three railway lines crossed in the downtown area. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Johnson City served as headquarters for the narrow gauge East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (the ET&WNC
, nicknamed "Tweetsie") and the standard gauge Clinchfield Railroad. Both rail systems featured excursion trips through scenic portions of the Blue Ridge Mountains and were engineering marvels of railway construction. The Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern) also passes through the city.
During the American Civil War, before it was formally incorporated in 1869, the name of the town was briefly changed to Haynesville in honor of Confederate Senator Landon Carter Haynes. Henry Johnson's name was quickly restored following the war, with Johnson elected as the city's first Mayor on January 3, 1870. The town grew rapidly from 1870 until 1890 as railroad and mining interests flourished. However, the national depression of 1893, which caused many railway failures and a resulting financial panic, halted Johnson City's boom town momentum in its tracks.
In 1901, the Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (now the U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center and National Cemetery, Mountain Home, Tennessee was created by an Act of the US Congress introduced by Walter P. Brownlow. Construction on this campus, designed to serve disabled Civil War veterans, was completed in 1903 at a cost of $3 million. Prior to building of this facility, the assessed value of the entire town was listed at $750,000. The East Tennessee State Normal School was authorized in 1911 and the new college campus located directly across from the National Soldiers Home. Johnson City again entered a rapid growth phase becoming the fifth largest city in Tennessee by 1930.
Johnson City along with neighboring Bristol, Tennessee was noted as a hotbed for old-time music and hosted noteworthy Columbia Records recording sessions in 1928 known as the Johnson City Sessions. Native son "Fiddlin' Charlie" Bowman became a national recording star via these sessions. The Fountain Square area in downtown featured a host of local and traveling street entertainers including Blind Lemon Jefferson.
During the 1920s, Johnson City's ties to Appalachian Mountains bootlegging activity gave the city the nickname of "Little Chicago". Stories persist that the town was one of several distribution centers for Chicago gang boss Al Capone during Prohibition. Capone had a well organized distribution network within the southern United States for alcohol smuggling that shipped his products from the mountain distillers to northern cities. Capone was, by local accounts, a part-time resident of Montrose Court, a luxury apartment complex now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The annual "Little Chicago Blues Festival" is held commemorating the legends surrounding the Prohibition-era speakeasies and railroad glory days of Johnson City. As a young Johnson City newspaper publisher during the late 1930s, U.S. naval records cite that former U.S. Congressman Jimmy Quillen was also a resident of Montrose Court. Johnson City was also believed to have the same crime rate per capita as Chicago for many years, only fueling the legend of "Little Chicago".
The city is featured in a song and video by Travis Tritt called "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde," although the line "rollin' north on 95," is fictionalized, as Interstate 81 and Interstate 26 intersect near Johnson City. As well, the lyrics, "We met at a truck stop, Johnson City Tennessee" are fictionalized as no truck stops exist within the boundaries of the City of Johnson City. The city is also mentioned in a song by Old Crow Medicine Show called "Wagon Wheel", in the lyric "Walkin' due south out of Roanoke, I caught a trucker out of Philly had a nice long toke. But he’s a heading west from the Cumberland Gap, to Johnson City, Tennessee." . However, the song gets the geography wrong, as Johnson City is southeast of the Cumberland Gap.
A milestone was achieved in 2003 when Interstate 26 was extended from Asheville, North Carolina to Johnson City completing a 20-year half-billion dollar construction project through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Since 2000, the city has hosted a free music and arts festival every June, called the Blue Plum Festival. In 2007, over 60,000 people were reported to have attended the weekend festival.
Mountain Dew, the soft drink, was first marketed in Johnson City by Tri-City Beverage in 1955.
The music video for Aerosmith's song "Rag Doll" was also partially filmed in the city on Hamilton Street and in Freedom Hall Civic Center.
List your home on the MLS in Johnson City, Tennessee