|Nickname(s): The Valley Beautiful|
|Named for||David J.N. Ervin, early resident|
|• Type||Municipal Corporation|
|• Mayor||Doris Hensley|
|• Aldermen||Lester Bailey Jr., Gary Chandler, Gary Edwards, Robie Sullins Jr., Sue Jean Wilson|
|• Total||3.6 sq mi (9.2 km2)|
|• Land||3.5 sq mi (9.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||1,673 ft (510 m)|
|• Density||1,582.8/sq mi (611.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1328148|
Erwin is a town in and the county seat of Unicoi County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 5,610 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.
Erwin is located at , beside the Nolichucky River.(36.145036, -82.410796)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), of which 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) is land and 0.28% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,610 people, 2,470 households, and 1,588 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,582.8 people per square mile (611.9/km²). There were 2,645 housing units at an average density of 746.2 per square mile (288.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.77% White, 0.05% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 1.02% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.00% of the population.
There were 2,470 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 33.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.7% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 22.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females there were 82.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,644, and the median income for a family was $37,813. Males had a median income of $31,894 versus $20,118 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,868. About 7.5% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
The town of Erwin received its name by a mail mishap. On December 5, 1879, the name of the town was Ervin, in honor of D.J.N. Ervin, who had donated 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land for the county seat. A typo made by post office officials caused the name to be recorded as Erwin. The mistake was never corrected.
Erwin earned some notoriety in 1916 when the only known public execution of an elephant in Tennessee occurred in the community. Mary, the elephant, had killed her handler, Wallter Eldridge, in nearby Kingsport. As home to the region's largest railway yard, Erwin was the only community with the means to carry out the death sentence. An estimated 2,500 people turned out at the local railway yard to see Mary hoisted by a crane and hanged by a chain around her neck. The first chain snapped, but a larger one was found and the peculiar task completed - she was hanged for half an hour before being declared dead.
Between 1916 and 1957, the Southern Potteries plant operated in Erwin along Ohio Avenue. The plant produced a hand-painted dishware known as Blue Ridge that became popular nationwide in late 1930s and 1940s. Blue Ridge pieces are still popular items with collectors of antique dishware.
Economy and culture
Nuclear Fuel Services has a major facility in Erwin. It began operation in 1957 as the Davison Chemical Division of the W.R. Grace Company. Production activities at the Erwin facility include preparing enriched uranium to be processed into nuclear reactor fuel, processing uranium hexafluoride into other uranium compounds, and downblending high-enriched uranium to convert it to a low-enriched form for use in commercial nuclear reactors. Historically the facility also worked with thorium compounds.
- Goforth, James A. Erwin, Tennessee: A Pictorial History, 1891-1929. Savannah: Overmountain Press (2004). ISBN 1-57072-288-9
- James A. Goforth, Erwin, Tennessee: A Pictorial History 1891–1929 (Overmountain Press, 2004), pp. 1-3.
- Tennessee Blue Book, 2005-2006, pp. 618-625.
- A. Christine Tipton, "Town of Erwin, Erwin official website, 2011. Retrieved: 19 April 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Public Health Assessment, Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee; EPA FACILITY ID: TND003095635, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, May 29, 2007
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