Crossville, Tennessee

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Crossville, Tennessee
City of Crossville
Main Street in Downtown Crossville
Main Street in Downtown Crossville
Flag of Crossville, Tennessee
Official seal of Crossville, Tennessee
Location of Crossville in Cumberland County, Tennessee.
Location of Crossville in Cumberland County, Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°57′15″N 85°1′53″W / 35.95417°N 85.03139°W / 35.95417; -85.03139Coordinates: 35°57′15″N 85°1′53″W / 35.95417°N 85.03139°W / 35.95417; -85.03139
CountryUnited States
Named forIntersection of two early roads[2]
 • MayorJames Mayberry
 • Total20.82 sq mi (53.92 km2)
 • Land20.40 sq mi (52.84 km2)
 • Water0.42 sq mi (1.08 km2)
1,854 ft (565 m)
 • Total10,795
 • Estimate 
 • Density577.35/sq mi (222.91/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
38555, 38557, 38558, 38571, 38572
Area code(s)931
FIPS code47-18540[6]
GNIS feature ID1306203[7]

Crossville is a city in and the county seat of Cumberland County, Tennessee, United States.[8] It is part of the Crossville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area.[9] The population was 10,795 at the 2010 census.[4]


Crossville developed at the intersection of a branch of the Great Stage Road, which connected the Knoxville area with the Nashville area, and the Kentucky Stock Road, a cattle drovers' path connecting Middle Tennessee with Kentucky and later extending south to Chattanooga. These two roads are roughly paralleled by modern US-70 and US-127, respectively.[10][11]

1939 photo of Crossville's Piggly Wiggly, which at the time was located at the corner of Main and 2nd

Around 1800, an early American settler named Samuel Lambeth opened a store at this junction, and the small community that developed around it became known as Lambeth's Crossroads. The store was located at what has become the modern intersection of Main Street and Stanley Street, just south of the courthouse. By the time a post office was established in the 1830s, the community had taken the name of "Crossville". In the early 1850s, James Scott, a merchant from nearby Sparta, purchased the Lambeth store and renamed it Scott's Tavern.[2]

When Cumberland County was formed in 1856, Crossville, being nearest the center of the county, was chosen as county seat. Scott donated the initial 40 acres (160,000 m2) for the erection of a courthouse and town square.[2]

Crossville and Cumberland County suffered rampant pillaging throughout the Civil War as the well-developed roads made the area accessible to both occupying Union and Confederate forces and bands of renegade guerrillas. With divided communities and families, there was vicious guerrilla warfare, and residents suffered as if there were major battles in the area.[12] The county was divided throughout the conflict, sending a roughly equal number of troops to both sides.[13]

After World War I, U.S. 70 helped connect the town and area to markets for its produce and goods. Additional highways built after World War II improved transportation in the region.[13]

During the Great Depression, the federal government's Subsistence Homestead Division initiated a housing project south of Crossville known as the Cumberland Homesteads. The project's purpose was to provide small farms for several hundred impoverished families. The project's recreational area would later become the nucleus for Cumberland Mountain State Park.[13]

Crossville was a sundown town as late as the 1950s, with a sign at the city limits warning African Americans not to stay after nightfall.[14]


Crossville has long been a great crossroads of East and Middle Tennessee.

Crossville is located at the center of Cumberland County at 35°57′15″N 85°1′53″W / 35.95417°N 85.03139°W / 35.95417; -85.03139 (35.954221, -85.031267).[15] The city is situated atop the Cumberland Plateau amidst the headwaters of the Obed River, which slices a gorge north of Crossville en route to its confluence with the Emory River to the northeast. Crossville is roughly halfway between the plateau's eastern escarpment along Walden Ridge and its western escarpment along the Highland Rim. Several small lakes are located on the outskirts of Crossville, including Lake Tansi to the south, Lake Holiday to the west, and Byrd Lake at nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park. The average elevation of Crossville is approximately 1,890 feet (580 m) above sea level.

Crossville developed at the intersection of two major stage roads by which settlers moved through the area. The roads were gradually widened, improved and turned into paved roads. Two major federal highways: U.S. Route 70, which traverses Tennessee from east to west, and U.S. Route 127, which traverses Tennessee from north to south, now roughly follow the old routes. Interstate 40, which runs roughly parallel to U.S. 70, passes through the northern part of Crossville. Crossville is approximately 35 miles (56 km) east of Cookeville, 80 miles (130 km) north of Chattanooga, and 70 miles (110 km) west of Knoxville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Crossville has a total area of 20.3 square miles (52.7 km2), of which 20.0 square miles (51.7 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.95%, is water.[4]


Crossville has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with warm summers and cool winters. Temperatures in Crossville are moderated by the city's high elevation and the Cumberland Plateau. Precipitation is abundant and evenly distributed (although the early autumn months are drier), with an average of 55.55 in (1,411 mm). Snowfall is moderate and somewhat common, with an average of 14.2 in (36 cm).

Climate data for Crossville, Tennessee.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 43.7
Average low °F (°C) 25.7
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.83
Average snowfall inches (cm) 4.3
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center[16]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)11,779[5]9.1%

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 8,981 people, 3,795 households, and 2,440 families residing in the city. The population density was 609.2 people per square mile (235.2/km2). There were 4,268 housing units at an average density of 289.5 per square mile (111.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.02% White, 0.14% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.43% of the population.

There were 3,795 households, out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,796, and the median income for a family was $33,207. Males had a median income of $26,735 versus $20,217 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,066. About 21.7% of families and 24.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.2% of those under age 18 and 20.6% of those age 65 or over.

Recent population estimates show the population of Crossville around 11,498 in 2008.

Points of interest[edit]

Palace Theatre
Native Stone Museum, one of many buildings in Crossville built of Crab Orchard Stone
  • Cumberland Mountain State Park is located immediately south of Crossville.
  • The Cumberland Homesteads are also located south of Crossville.
  • The Native Stone Museum, located in a 1930s-era Tennessee Highway Patrol station on the courthouse square, is dedicated to Crab Orchard Stone, a local building material used in many of the city's buildings.
  • The Palace Theatre, which opened in 1938, still serves as a theater, performance venue, and meeting hall.[18]
  • The United States Chess Federation moved its corporate offices to Crossville from New Windsor, New York, in 2005.
  • The Highway 127 Corridor Sale, promoted as the world's largest yard sale, is held annually in August.
  • The Cumberland County Playhouse is the only major non-profit professional performing arts resource in rural Tennessee, and one of the 10 largest professional theaters in rural America. It serves more than 165,000 visitors annually with two indoor and two outdoor stages, young audience productions, a comprehensive dance program, a concert series and touring shows.[19]
  • Crossville bills itself as "the golf capital of Tennessee" and features 12 courses: Stonehenge, Heatherhurst Crag, Heatherhurst Brae, Deer Creek, River Run, Four Seasons, The Bear Trace, Dorchester, Mountain Ridge, Renegade, Druid Hills, and Lake Tansi.
  • The Cosby Harrison Company (formerly known as TAP Publishing) was created in 1937 by Cosby Harrison with the first publication, Trade-A-Plane, which is still being published today. Over the years TAP Publishing has created and published other products that can be found nationwide and even internationally, such as; Rock & Dirt, Rock & Dirt en Espanol, Tradequip, weatherTAP, and NextTruck Online.[20]
  • The Cumberland County Fair is held every August.
  • Art Circle Public Library
  • Horace Burgess's Treehouse is a treehouse and church, closed in 2012.
  • A free-speech zone on the Cumberland County Courthouse lawn was the site of several unofficial displays, including a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an Iraq and Afghanistan Soldier's Memorial, a miniature Statue of Liberty, chainsaw carvings of a nativity scene, Jesus carrying the cross, and monkeys and bears.[21] As of April 30, 2008, the lawn is no longer a free-speech zone due largely to the controversy caused by the Flying Spaghetti Monster statue.[22]

Notable people[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Crossville, Tennessee Pictorial History. Nashville: Turner Publishing Company (2001). ISBN 1-56311-767-3


  1. ^ Tennessee Blue Book, 2005-2006, pp. 618-625.
  2. ^ a b c Bullard and Krechniak, Cumberland County's First Hundred Years, 180-188.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Crossville city, Tennessee". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  9. ^ United States Census Bureau, Crossville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area. Retrieved: 25 June 2013.
  10. ^ Helen Bullard and Joseph Krechniak, Cumberland County's First Hundred Years (Crossville, Tenn.: Centennial Committee, 1956), 22-26
  11. ^ The WPA Guide to Tennessee (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986), 442. Originally compiled by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Project Administration as Tennessee: A Guide to the State, and published in 1939.
  12. ^ Larry H. Whiteaker, "Civil War", Tennessee Encyclopedia of Culture and History, 2009, accessed 7 November 2011
  13. ^ a b c G. Donald Brookhart, "Cumberland County", Tennessee Encyclopedia of Culture and History, 2009, accessed 7 November 2011
  14. ^ Rowan, Carl T. (March 1, 1951). "How Far From Slavery? Segregation Is 'Great Debate'". Minneapolis Morning Tribune. Minneapolis. p. 1 – via I have been in Crossville before—but not for long. No Negroes are allowed to live here. On a tree near the city limits is this sign: 'Nigger, don't let the sun set on you here.' Since it is early morning and the sun long has set, I remain aboard the bus for the 20-minute stop here. I do see two Negro passengers going down a corridor into the kitchen for sandwiches, however. But even in this all-white community (one Negro family lived just outside it eight years ago, but has moved now) I can write about progress in the south—progress that would be noticed only by a Negro grown sensitive to the little shades of race relations.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  18. ^ Palace Theatre official website. Accessed 19 July 2016.
  19. ^ Cumberland County Playhouse official site. Accessed 19 July 2016.
  20. ^ TAP Publishing official site. Accessed 19 July 2016.
  21. ^ Gary Nelson, Flying Spaghetti Monster takes up residence at county courthouse, Crossville Chronicle, March 24, 2008
  22. ^ Gary Nelson, "Courthouse No Longer Hosting Free Speech Displays." The Crossville Chronicle, 15 April 2008. Retrieved: 10 July 2008.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^

External links[edit]