Greenway and water tower in Monteagle
Location of Monteagle, Tennessee
|Counties||Grundy, Marion, Franklin|
|Named for||Eagles that once lived in the area|
|• Total||8.59 sq mi (22.25 km2)|
|• Land||8.55 sq mi (22.14 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)|
|Elevation||1,923 ft (586 m)|
|• Density||139/sq mi (53.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code(s)||931, 423|
|GNIS feature ID||1314141|
Monteagle is a town in Franklin, Grundy, and Marion counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee, in the Cumberland Plateau region of the southeastern part of the state. The population was 1,238 at the 2000 census – 804 of the town's 1,238 residents (64.9%) lived in Grundy County, 428 (34.6%) in Marion County, and 6 (0.5%) in Franklin County. The population at the 2010 census was 1,192.
Monteagle is famous for the treacherous stretch of Interstate 24 that passes through the town. It is here that the highway passes over what is colloquially referred to as "The Monteagle" or "Monteagle Mountain", a section of the southern Cumberland Plateau which is a major landmark on the road between Chattanooga and Nashville. The interstate regularly shuts down in inclement weather, routing traffic onto U.S. Route 41. In the Jerry Reed song "The Legend", which is the opening track in the film Smokey and the Bandit, Reed tells the story of the Bandit miraculously surviving brake failure on the "Monteagle Grade". There is also a song called "Monteagle Mountain" by Johnny Cash on the album Boom Chicka Boom.
The town is home to the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly. The Highlander Folk School, long involved in the labor and civil rights movements, was located here from 1932 to 1961. Rosa Parks attended workshops there shortly before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Monteagle has long served as a popular point to cross the Cumberland Plateau due to its location along a relatively narrow stretch of the plateau in southern Tennessee. One of the last groups of Cherokees removed from the Southeastern United States along the Trail of Tears passed through what is now Monteagle en route to Oklahoma in late October 1838. This group consisted of approximately 700 Cherokee led by John Bell and escorted by U.S. Army Lieutenant Edward Deas.
The town of Monteagle was originally known as "Moffat Station" after John Moffat, a Scottish-Canadian temperance activist who purchased over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in the area in 1870. In 1872, Moffat donated 50 acres (20 ha) of land to Fairmount College, a women's college that had decided to relocate to the area from Jackson, Mississippi. The grounds of the school are now home to the DuBose Conference Center, named for one of the school's early pastors. In 1882, the Chautauqua-inspired Monteagle Sunday School Assembly was established to train Sunday school teachers.
The name of Moffat Station was later changed to "Mount Eagle", and afterwards to "Mounteagle". The spelling had been changed to "Monteagle" by the time the town incorporated in 1962.
Monteagle is located in the southwest corner of Grundy County and the northwest corner of Marion County at  The Marion-Grundy county line runs east-to-west through the center of town. The town limits extend west into Franklin County as well.(35.239941, -85.834372).
The town straddles a narrow stretch of the Cumberland Plateau known colloquially as "Monteagle Mountain". This stretch of the plateau is approximately 2 miles (3 km) wide, with steep drop-offs to the northwest and southeast. Monteagle lies at an elevation of just under 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level. By comparison, two nearby cities, Cowan (to the northwest) and South Pittsburg (to the southeast), lie at elevations of less than 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level.
Interstate 24 passes through the town just south and west of the town center, with access from Exits 134 and 135. I-24 leads northwest 88 miles (142 km) to Nashville and southeast 46 miles (74 km) to Chattanooga. U.S. Route 41 is Main Street through the town, leading east 6 miles (10 km) to Tracy City and northwest 24 miles (39 km) to Manchester. U.S. Route 41A branches off from US 41 in Monteagle and leads southwest 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to Sewanee. Winchester is 18 miles (29 km) to the west via US 41A.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.3 km2), of which 8.5 square miles (22.1 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.48%, is water. The north side of town drains off the plateau into Layne Cove and is part of the Elk River watershed, while the south side drains into Ladd Cove and Cave Cove, part of the Battle Creek watershed. Both watersheds flow to the Tennessee River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,238 people, 477 households, and 321 families residing in the town. The population density was 152.2 people per square mile (58.7/km²). There were 701 housing units at an average density of 86.2 per square mile (33.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.45% White, 1.37% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.48% of the population.
There were 477 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the town the population was spread out with 19.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 25.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $24,464, and the median income for a family was $29,886. Males had a median income of $24,643 versus $17,708 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,983. About 21.7% of families and 25.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.4% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.
Places of interest
- Mary Anderson, inventor of the windshield wiper
- Right Rev. William Millsaps, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church, a former member of the UECNA
- William Alexander Percy, poet and lawyer, bought Brinkwood, a summer house in Monteagle, with Huger Jervey, a professor of International Law at Columbia University.
- Monteagle, Monteagle Mountain Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved: 23 January 2013.
- Tennessee Blue Book, 2005-2006, pp. 618-625.
- Nancy Capace, Encyclopedia of Tennessee (North American Book Distributors, 2000), p. 203.
- "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.
- "Subcounty population estimates: Tennessee 2000-2006" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Monteagle town, Tennessee". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- "Trail of Tears: Bell Removal Route," historical marker along U.S. Route 41 in Monteagle, Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride. Accessed: 16 April 2016.
- "DuBose Conference Center: A Short History," DuBose Conference Center website. Originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, 14 August 1982. Retrieved: 19 April 2016.
- William Ray Turner, "Grundy County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 19 April 2016.
- "Monteagle: History," Grundy County website. Retrieved: 19 April 2016.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- The name is used by the local chamber of commerce () and the Grundy County website (), and is frequently used in news reports to describe accidents in the vicinity (e.g.  and ).
- "Monteagle, Tennessee". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Cowan, Tennessee". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "South Pittsburg, Tennessee". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- William Armstrong Percy, 'William Alexander Percy,' in Carryin' On in the Lesbian and Gay South, John Howard (ed.), New York and London: New York University Press, 1997, p. 87