“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Tennessee Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on January 22, 2021

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 Tennessee ranks ninth among states and provinces with markers in this database. Tennessee is a state in the United States of America located in the American South. It is also in the East South Central region. Tennessee is some 42 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 6.8 million people. The state is divided into 95 counties and 94 of them have entries in this database. In Tennessee we have discovered historical markers in 402 cities and towns lying in 458 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 4,641 historical markers in Tennessee, by our count. We have cataloged 4,622 historical markers and 288 war memorials—each individually presented on 4,824 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. Pages for historical markers from this state make up 3.2% of our total. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 19 historical markers in Tennessee that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first Tennessee marker in the database, Graceland, was added March 6, 2006. It was photographed in Memphis in Shelby County. The last one added was submitted on January 21, 2021, and titled Epworth United Methodist Church. It is in Franklin in Williamson County and had been erected in 1997. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in Tennessee was erected in 1836. It was this one: Mr. Luther's Blacksmith Shop and Broom Factory, and one of our correspondents found it in Lebanon in Wilson County on November 5, 2017.

Tennessee Historical Topics
2,241 • Civil War
723 • Settlements and Settlers
455 • Industry and Commerce
409 • African Americans
385 • Education
339 • Churches and Religion
287 • Cemeteries and Burial Sites
219 • Native Americans
204 • Arts, Letters, Music
195 • Government and Politics
    ... and others ...

Tennesseans don’t want to forget their Civil War history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from Tennessee about the Civil War—2,241 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Settlements and Settlers with 723 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Civil War topic was Free Hill Road, added September 9, 2007. It had been erected in Hendersonville in Sumner County. The last one submitted was submitted on January 18, 2021, and titled Owen Hill. It had been erected in 1998 near Arno in Williamson County. The earliest marker erected with the Civil War topic that we have listed was erected in 1869. It is Unknown Confederate Dead Monument, found in Union City in Obion County on September 10, 2020.

What is the most interesting historical marker in Tennessee? What we know is that Geographic Center of Tennessee is the most viewed entry in the database from Tennessee since it was added in 2009. It is located in Murfreesboro in Rutherford County. This year so far, the most viewed Tennessean entry is located near Selmer in McNairy County. It is The Trail of Tears.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The Tennessee county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Hardin County, with 562 of them. It is followed closely by Hamilton County with 535 markers. The Shiloh area of Hardin County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 550. In Hamilton County the area with the most markers, 428, is Chattanooga.

Historical Markers in These
Tennessee Counties
562 • Hardin County
535 • Hamilton County
489 • Davidson County
411 • Shelby County
312 • Williamson County
178 • Rutherford County
151 • Knox County
86 • Sullivan County
84 • Stewart County
80 • Greene County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in Tennessee with the most markers we again find Shiloh at the top of the list with 550 markers in or near it. And Chattanooga also shows up again in next place, with 428 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 38376 at the top of the list with 550 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 38376 is assigned to Shiloh TN.) It is followed by ZIP Code 37404 with 274 markers. (37404 is assigned to Chattanooga TN.)

Historical Markers Near These
Tennessee Cities and Towns
550 • Shiloh
428 • Chattanooga
399 • Nashville
342 • Memphis
239 • Franklin
155 • Murfreesboro
121 • Knoxville
80 • Lookout Mountain
79 • Dover
65 • Greeneville
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Hardin County, the first marker added to the database from there, Shiloh United Methodist Church, was added April 3, 2008. It was erected in 1978 near Shiloh. The last one submitted was uploaded on October 7, 2020, and is titled W.S. "Fluke" Holland, in Saltillo. The earliest marker erected in Hardin County that we have listed was erected in 1902. It was 77th Pennsylvania Infantry, found near Shiloh on December 14, 2010.

Latest entry from Tennessee. Click to go there
By Darren Jefferson Clay, January 18, 2021
Latest Entry from Tennessee
“Epworth United Methodist Church”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Chattanooga. The first: Ernest Walter Holmes, Sr., was added August 4, 2007. The last: Site of Brainerd Mission to the Cherokee Indians added on January 18, 2021. It had been erected in 1924. One of the earliest erected, dating from 1890 (more than one was erected that year): Mebane's Tennessee Battery, added on December 5, 2010.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The Tennessee Historical Commission is currently in charge of the familiar silver and black official historical markers found all over the state. We have 1,350 of their markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from Tennessee. Click to go there
By Julie Santee, October 2016
A Tennessee Historical Commission Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of Tennessee have been marked with history. Check out Houston County, Scott County and Hancock County. We've only found, respectively, 3, 2, and 1 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of Tennessee might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Jan. 22, 2021