Located in both Sullivan and Hawkins county of Tennessee is little-known Kingsport. Kingsport is the largest city in the area, with an estimated population of about 53,000 people. Kingsport is commonly bunched in with a part of the country known as the Mountain Empire – which spans parts of Southwest VA, as well as the mountainous areas of Eastern TN. The name of the city, Kingsport, is a simplification of “King’s Port”, which originally referred to the area of the Holston River that the city is located on – known as the King’s Boat Yard.
A Brief History of Kingsport
Developed by European Americans after the American Revolution, the area was originally known as “Salt Lick”. After it was first chartered in 1822, Kingsport became a critical port for shipping on the Holston River. During the Civil War, Union soldiers out-numbered Confederate soldiers held up in the cities surrounding Salt Lick.
Douglass High School, one of the largest African-American high schools in the region, was located in Kingsport. In 1966, Douglass High School closed its doors to begin the process of national desegregation.
In an odd turn of events, the residents of Kingsport demanded that a circus elephant by the name of Mary be killed – due to her killing of a hotel worker that worked in the city. After the elephant killed the man, she was impounded by the local sheriff. The leadership of surrounding municipalities vowed to ban the circus if Mary the elephant performed in it. It what might be the oddest ending in a story about an elephant that was arrested, Mary the Asian elephant was publicly executed via railroad crane in front of a crowd of 1,500 people.
Modern Kingsport, TN
Kingsport is home to a vast parks and recreations, and subsequently, is home to a number of enjoyable parks. One of these parks is Bays Mountain, which a nature park and planetarium located within the city. The museum area of the park features cross-cut viewing areas for things like bee hives, cave systems, beaver dams,and other natural phenomenons. The nature center features an outdoor native animal display that has things like bob cats, birds of prey, wolves, and deer. Wolf howling sessions are a common occurrence here, in which visitors are encouraged to howl with the wolves, which will cause the wolves to howl.
A popular tourist attraction feature of Bays Mountain is known simply as the Barge Ride. This pontoon boat ride takes guests through the Bays Mountain reservoir, while teaching them about the nature around them. Another interesting feature of Bays Mountain is the freeze-drying lab. This laboratory is where collected animals, that died of natural causes, are preserved for up-close examination.
For any adventurers in the family, the adventure course at Bays Mountain features a zip lining course that’s sure to keep their adrenaline pumping. Pair this with hiking, mountain biking, and camping, and your trip to Bays Mountain and Kingsport is sure to be memorable for any member of the family.
While visiting our firm be sure to visit Kingsport and all it has to offer!