Powell, Tennessee

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Unincorporated community
Powell is located in Tennessee
Location within the state of Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°01′54″N 84°01′41″W / 36.03167°N 84.02806°W / 36.03167; -84.02806Coordinates: 36°01′54″N 84°01′41″W / 36.03167°N 84.02806°W / 36.03167; -84.02806
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Knox
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 37849
GNIS feature ID 1298390[1]

Powell is an unincorporated community in Knox County, Tennessee, United States. The United States Geographic Names System classifies Powell as a populated place.[1] The area is located in the Emory Road (State Route 131) corridor, just north of Knoxville, southeast of Clinton, and east of Oak Ridge. It is included in the Knoxville, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Despite its status as unincorporated, Powell is considered to be more of an "independent" small town than a suburb. One of the reasons behind this is that it was established in 1789 (two years before the establishment of Knoxville) by settlers passing through East Tennessee into the frontier. Among these early settlers was Stockley Donelson (1753–1804), a brother-in-law of President Andrew Jackson. Donelson's home, now known as the Alexander Bishop House, still stands on Bishop Lane.[2] Attracted by a ready supply of water and good farmland, some settlers stayed to establish one of the first trading outposts in Knox County. The community's name is derived from the Powell Station train stop. The train station is not currently in use but remains in the town's "downtown" area. Downtown Powell consists of local restaurants, various businesses along Depot Drive, Spring Street, Emory Road, and Brickyard Road. Spring Street is a street that runs through the original neighborhoods of Powell.

The railroad was essential to economy of early 20th century Powell as bricks were made with the mud from Beaver Creek and loaded onto the tracks and sent to various locations. The railroad tracks which run through downtown Powell head north to Cincinnati and run south to Atlanta.

The influence of the Old South's culture can still be seen today in Powell, mainly by architecture. There are several Antebellum homes located along Emory Road and the original neighborhoods of Powell. Several of the older homes in the original part of Powell are believed to have been used as Confederate hospitals during the Civil War. Powell is also noted for having a more diverse population demographic compared to the neighboring towns of Halls and Karns, as African-Americans make up a more significant portion of the population - the majority of which live in what would be considered "South Powell".

Powell is well-noted throughout Knox County for its intense support of Powell Panther athletics. Powell High School constructed a new football stadium in 2009 and the football team is sponsored by Nike. The Panthers were Tennessee State Runners-Up in 1991 and 2011.


  • The Weigel's chain of convenience stores started and is still headquartered in Powell.
  • The largest employer in Powell is DeRoyal Industries, which manufactures and markets medical products.
  • Powell was home to a Levi's jeans manufacturing plant that closed in 2002. The former Levi's property, adjacent to DeRoyal Industries, is now the site of Crown College.[3]


Public schools in Powell, operated by Knox County Schools, are:

  • Powell High School
  • Powell Middle School
  • Powell Elementary School
  • Brickey-McCloud Elementary School
  • Copper Ridge Elementary School

Church-related educational institutions in the community include:


Temple Baptist Church is a church located at 1700 Beaver Creek Drive in Powell.[4]

Notable people[edit]

In literature[edit]

The central action of James Agee's Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, A Death in the Family, takes place in Powell.


  1. ^ a b "Powell, Tennessee". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ The Wonderful 18th Century House of Alexander Bishop. "Ask Doc Knox," Metro Pulse, 9 August 2010. Retrieved: 9 August 2010.
  3. ^ SunElCo Awards (website accessed September 22, 2208)
  4. ^ Temple Baptist Church

External links[edit]