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Local Area Information

Grainger County:

Grainger County is the undiscovered gem of East Tennessee. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the 310 square mile mostly rural community is bordered on the north by Norris Lake, on the south by Cherokee Lake, and bisected in the middle by Clinch Mountain.

The county is a combination of rolling farms and lush woodlands. The pace of life is slow and relaxed.

Grainger County has a long and colorful history. It was a battleground for fierce fighting during the Civil War, and was once home to a world-class luxury resort. However, today Grainger County is most famous for its delicious tomatoes, which are prized both near and far. Each July, the tomato is celebrated with a festival in Rutledge that attracts thousands of visitors.

There are three incorporated cities -- Rutledge, Bean Station, and Blaine -- and numerous smaller communities including Thorn Hill, Washburn, Central Point, Liberty Hill, Buffalo, Powder Springs and Richland. Each community has its own distinct personality.

Grainger County was founded in 1796. It is the only county in Tennessee named in honor of a woman: Mary Grainger, the wife of William Blount, the first territorial governor of Tennessee.

William Bean and Daniel Boone were the first white men known to have viewed the land that is now Grainger County. They camped in the area in 1775, following the Cherokee’s Great War Path on their way to Ken-tuck.

The first permanent settlement is believed to have been established in 1776 by Robert Bean and William Bean II. The Beans were captains in the Revolutionary War, and were granted 3,000 acres of land along German Creek for their services.

Sometime between 1787 and 1789, a fort was constructed at the intersection of the Kentucky Road and the Cherokee’s Great War Path to protect settlers from attacks by Indians, who were trying to push the white men from the territory.

Located on what was then a major road for frontiersmen heading west and travelers heading north or south, Bean’s Station attracted many merchants and businessmen.

Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Henry Clay, Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson, and James Polk are just a few of the notable Americans who are part of Grainger County’s long and storied history.

The first paper mill established in the south was built in Grainger County by Dr. Milton Shields.

President Andrew Johnson, as a young man, operated a small tailor shop in Rutledge. A replica of his shop stands in front of the Grainger County Courthouse. Across the street is the Old Jail, which housed a variety of local criminals, most of whom were more colorful than dangerous.

In 1813, Thomas and Jenkins Whiteside built a 52-room inn and tavern at Bean’s Station in the eastern portion of the county. The three story brick hotel was a popular stagecoach stop between Washington and New Orleans. Late in 1863, during the Civil War (War Between the States), Bean’s Station was the scene of a fierce battle between Union and Confederate forces. The inn was later destroyed and, today, the battle field lies buried beneath Cherokee Lake most of the year.

In the late 1800s, Captain Thomas Tomlinson built a luxury resort hotel at Tate Springs. The 6,000-acre resort featured a golf course, cottages, stables, and a park. The spring’s mineral-rich waters attracted wealthy dignitaries from all over the world including the Fords, Rockefellers, Firestones, Studebakers and Mellons.

The resort prospered until the Great Depression. The original hotel was torn down in 1936 and, five years later, the property was sold to Kingswood School. Today, a gazebo at the spring stands as a monument to what was once the south’s premier luxury resort.

The establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1931 brought many changes to the county including the creation of Cherokee of Norris Lakes, but none had a bigger impact on the community than the widespread distribution of affordable electric service.

Grainger County Statistics:

Average year-round temperature/weather:

Average July high: 86.6°F

Average January low: 24.7°F

Annual average temperature: 56°F

Annual average snowfall: 12 inches

Median price of homes:

Cost of living:
2008 cost of living index in Grainger County: 79.0 (low, U.S. average is 100)

Grainger County's cost of living is 14.57% lower than the U.S. average.

Population of city/county and/or median age:
22,546 (2009)

Median age: 37.7

Recreational and Cultural:

Grainger County Park

Buffalo Springs State Game Farm

Buffalo Springs Game Farm

Harrell Park

Cherokee Lake


Holston River

Clinch River

Clinch Mountain Overlook

Arts & Culture
Many fine artists and craftsman live and work in Grainger County. Most of the artisans work out of their homes, or in private studios.

The Artisans of Rural Tennessee (ART), a loosely organized group of artists meets monthly at the “Old Jail” in Rutledge to discuss their latest projects. All artists are welcome.

The Historic Nance House in Rutledge is being developed into a museum and cultural center.

Greenlee Campground

Greenlee of May Springs

Wa-Ni Village Resort

Clinchview Golf Club in Bean Station

Marinas/Boat Docks
German Creek Marina in Bean Station

Greenlee Campground, RV, & Marine

Greenlee of May Springs

Linda’s Lakeside Marine

Wa-Ni Village Resort

Anglers come from near and far to fish Cherokee and Norris Lakes. The lakes are regularly restocked. Species include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, stripped bass, crappie, walleye, and sauger.

Bean Station Elementary School

Grainger Adult High School

Grainger High School

Joppa Elementary School

Rutledge Elementary School

Rutledge High School

Rutledge Middle School

Rutledge Primary School

Washburn School

Medical Facilities:
Claiborne County Hospital

Crime Rate:

Additional Information:
Cities and towns

  • Bean Station
  • Blaine
  • Liberty Hill (unincorporated)
  • Powder Springs (unincorporated)
  • Rutledge
  • Tater Valley (unincorporated)
  • Thorn Hill (unincorporated)
  • Washburn (unincorporated)

Railroads: one

Interstate Highways

15 miles to access Interstate 40/81

U.S. Highways: 11W

State Highways: 92, 25E

Motor Freight Companies: 6

Nearest Port Facility: Knoxville, 35 miles

Air Service

General Aviation: Morristown, 22 miles

Runway Length: 5,700 feet

Surface: Asphalt Lights: Yes Fuel: Yes

Nearest Commercial Service

Knoxville Metro, 35 miles

Daily Flights: 126