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James White Fort, Knoxville

#1 of 11 in Historic Sites in Knoxville
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
James White's Fort, also known as White's Fort, was an 18th-century settlement that became Knoxville, Tennessee, in the United States. The name also refers to the fort, itself.

The settlement of White's Fort began in 1786 by James White, a militia officer during the American Revolutionary War. When William Blount, the territorial governor of the Southwest Territory, moved the territorial capital to White's Fort in 1791, he renamed it Knoxville in honor of Henry Knox, the American Revolutionary War general and Washington's Secretary of War.

The fort itself began when James White built a cabin near what is now the corner of State Street and Clinch Avenue. This cabin soon became the center of a cluster of fortified log structures known as White's Fort. The original cabin later became the kitchen of the Kennedy House, which was built in the 1830s. In 1906, when the Kennedy house was demolished for development, Isaiah Ford bought the log structure and moved it to Woodlawn Pike. It was purchased again in 1960 by the City Association of Women's Clubs; in 1968, the timbers were reconstructed as part of the fort. The fort still stands on a bluff near its original location. Seven log cabins and the stockade fence remain. The cabins house pioneer artifacts and furnishings.

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101 reviews
  • I visited this well-preserved fort, containing some original buildings and some replicas, gaining insight into the first white settlers of Knoxville, and the town's beginnings. The collection...  more »
  • We really enjoyed touring James White’s Fort. The gentleman in the gift shop was so pleasant and inviting. He gave us a military discount and offered to answer any questions we had while on the tour.....  more »
  • Knoxville's hidden historic gem! Knoxville's first home is the site of so much of what was to become Knoxville! Tourists from around the world visit to learn about the colonial settlements, a huge gathering of native American tribes that came together to forge a peace treaty, and they have great year-round events like this Fire and Feast Dinner!! If visiting Knoxville, or if you're a resident who might have overlooked the fort, do yourself a favor and visit James White's Fort!
  • Cool little place tucked away in our downtown. They had a little festival going on, so we checked it out. Lots of fun!

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