Grainger County Real Estate

A Brief Overview of Grainger County

Although world-famous for Grainger County tomatoes, Grainger has much to offer as a community, place of business, and also, for recreation. Mayor Mark Hipsher, describes the county as "One of God's most beautiful places."

Those who venture off onto the sideroads for the first time will be impressed by the dramatic terrain, twists and turns along backroads sheltered by forests. One-lane roads beg to be explored with camera in hand. You never know what you'll find. You'll likely encounter springs, streams, and ponds common throughout the countryside in addition to the Clinch and Holston Rivers and Cherokee Reservoir. You may encounter a biodiversity of domestic and wild foul visible from the roadside such as pheasant, chickens, emu, turkey, heron, ostrich, swans, ducks, eagles, and hawks, among others. Both wetlands and Cedar Glades are common and offer refuge for unique ecosystems of wildlife. Livestock owners have been know to keep anything from reindeer to the traditional cow or goat. Veterans Overlook Bean Station Windy Hill Alpaca Farm is located near Ritter Farms off 11w. Whatever you find on your journey, if you stop a while, you'll be charmed by the warm and wonderful people you encounter or that wave as you drive by. Expect to be invited to come back for a local church gospel or the annual Grainger County Tomato Festival.

According to the local Chamber of Commerce, there are over 400 full-time farms in operation in Grainger County in the present day. In addition to that, many residents farm part-time to supplement their income. Things have changed over the years, yet Grainger County continues a strong tradition of animal husbandry. Residents regularly enjoy equestrian events hosted by Spur'n "S" Rodeo and River Ranch Stables. Grey Lady Farm & Stables of Blaine is just one visible example of an agrarian business co-owned and operated by women. [Read Things to Do in Grainger County ]

Many corner churches are the thriving cultural centers of their community. In addition to their regular devotional services, local churches host picnic gatherings, gospels, and tent revivals. [See Grainger County's churches]

Flynn Grey Lady FarmGrainger County has a rich history and tradition that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries. Today, despite the advent of two-lane roads, bridges, and modern conveniences, it's still a quiet, predominantly agricultural county with low crime and a long history of commitment to hard work and strong conservative and religious values. Although it has recently experienced an influx of new residents, many families have roots that go back for hundreds of years in the area, some as far as the formation of the county. Although not officially recognized, a handful of the oldest farms found tucked here and there along the backroads qualify as "Century Farms", meaning, they've been in the same family and have been in operation for over a hundred years. Also hidden away off the beaten track are artists, authors, musicians, craftsmen, and small businesses operated out of the home. [Read Grainger County history ]

Rutledge is the county seat of Grainger County and is located in the center of the county. It was named in honor of its protector, General George Rutledge of Sullivan County. Early on, county business was often conducted at Bunch's Tavern in Rutledge, built in 1797. Washburn community was briefly the county seat but the title transferred to Rutledge when its courthouse was completed in 1801.

Bean Station, the famous location of the Battle of Bean Station and the historical crossroad of the Kentucky Road and New Orleans to Washington Road, is located on the eastern end of the county and is presently Grainger's most populated community. The city incorporated in 1996 in order to establish municipal utilities, meanwhile, the city has grown in population and size. District 3 Congressman, Zachary Wamp predicted the county will grow in toward the middle.

Blaine is located on the western end of the county. Although it has a long history of farming, according to the 2000 census, the #1 reported profession among men in the western end of the county (Blaine area) was in construction, whereas healthcare was the top profession reported among women. Blaine is often classified as a suburb of Knoxville. The city was formerly referred to as "Blains Crossroads" in reference to its proximity to the residence of pioneer settler, Robert Blaine. The hub of activity in that location was Shields' Station, located a short distance from the crossroad. The tavern is still in existence and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

All three incorporated communities, Bean Station, Rutledge, and Blaine, occur along Hwy 11w, also known at various times as The Great Wagon Trail, The Cumberland Road, Lee Highway, and locally, as Rutledge Pike. Other communities include Treadway, Mooresburg, Thorn Hill, Washburn, Powder Springs, Puncheon Camp, Dutch Valley, Black Fox, Tater Valley, Buffalo Springs, Richland, Avondale, Central Point, Liberty Hill, and Red House. [See more locations]

Located along the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor, Grainger County, TN is also a great place to seat your business/industry. The county, in cooperation with the state, continues to improve infrastructure and services. The four-lane highway portion of Hwy 11w starts at Blaine and continues into Knoxville. The Grainger County area portion of 11w is synonymously referred to as both Lee Highway and Rutledge Pike. Due to its prime location and changes to zoning, a large and highly visible/accessible new business park is currently in the works right off 11w in Blaine. A second business park is located just east of Rutledge on Rutledge Pike. Residents may commute to larger cities for work, shopping, and urban recreation yet, many folks prefer to stick close to home and enjoy the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of city life in "One of God's most beautiful places." [See Grainger Business Information]

Cities in Grainger

Hospitals/Medical Centers In/Near Grainger County

Grainger County Government

For government meetings, please call to verify dates and times:

Local Business

Grainger County 9-1-1

Grainger County Libraries

  • Blaine Public Library 220 Indian Ridge Road Blaine, TN 37709 865-933-0845
  • Rutledge Public Library 8030 Rutledge Pike(Located beneath City Hall) Rutledge, TN 37861 865-828-4784
  • Washburn Public Library Highway 131 Washburn, TN 37888 865-497-2506
  • Bean Station Public Library 895 Broadway Drive Bean Station, TN 37708 865-993-3068

Grainger County Schools

Grainger County Things to Do

  • Scenic Touring: Because Rutledge Pike (Hwy 11w) is a scenic highway, Sunday Drivers and organized motorcycle rides such as the Honda Hoot and the Ride for Paws and Claws frequently trek through Blaine, Rutledge, and Bean Station, often, en route to the Smoky Mountains or Veterans' Overlook (25e). Rutledge Pike (a.k.a. The Purple Heart Trail) is also a state-designated Bike Route.

Grainger County has several barns along the Appalachian Quilt Trail.

Ritter Farms Concert Series 2999 Rutledge Pike Rutledge, TN 865-767-2575

  • Gilliland Farm Fantasy Carriage Company ( & Ferrier) 396 Stone Road Blaine, TN 37709 865-828-5421

Topography & Geology

Grainger County is in the northeastern part of Tennessee. It is bordered on the north by Claiborne and Hancock Counties, on the south by Hamblen and Jefferson Counties, on the east by Hawkins County, and on the west by Knox and Union Counties. The Department of Economic and Community Development estimated the population of Grainger County to be 17,400 in 1988.

The county is irregular in shape, measuring about 28 miles from northeast to southwest and about 12 miles from north to south. It has 193,700 acres of land and 12,200 acres of water. The county is divided roughtly into the northern and southern parts by Clinch Mountain and the Poor Valley Knobs, which extend across the county from northeast to southwest.

The county is in the Southern Appalachian Ridges and Valleys major land resource area. The soils in this area formed under forest vegetation and are dominantly light in color. The soils in the Clinch Mountain and Poor Valley Knobs area are shallow to deep over sandstone or shale bedrock. The soils in the rest of the county are shallow to very deep, dominantly over limestone or shale bedrock ... from the USDA Soil Survey

Grainger Shale

So named after Grainger County, Tennessee, is comprised of "flaggy sandstone, sandy shale, and sandstone, with white sandstone and red and brown sandy shale at the top. This formation ranges from 900 to 1,200 feet thick, but maintains a nearly even thickness for long distances. Fossils which have been found in the Grainger shale in regions toward the northeast indicate that its upper part is of Carboniferous ( Mississippian) age, while a Devonian age for its lower portion is indicated by the presence of Devonian fossils. Fossils found in the so-called iron ore beds southeast of Maryville have been determined by E. O. Ulrich to be of Mississippian age." — source The Red Iron Ores of East Tennessee By Ernest Francis Burchard

Topographical Names and Locations

Clinch Mountain is the backbone of the county and it's paralleled by the Clinch River to the north and the Holston River and Cherokee Reservoir to the south. Due to the mountain formations and subsequent karst rock below ground, sinkholes, aquifers, and caves are common to the area.

At the base of Clinch Mountain on the north side of Hwy 11w, Poor Valley Knobs are visible. Beyond the knobs is Poor Valley and then Clinch Mountain.

Within Poor Valley are Dark Hollow and Pine Mountain, Highland Springs and Sulphur Springs, Wildcat Spur, Laurel Hollow, Shield's Cove, and Lea Lake.

In the northern half of the county, past Clinch Mountain, are Log Mountain, Dutch Valley, Hogskin Valley, Black Fox Hollow & Valley, Bullen Valley, Cracker Neck, Copper Ridge, Hinds Ridge, Broken Valley, Indian Creek Valley, Clinch River and Norris Lake/Reservoir.

Hwy 11w and all three towns, Bean Station, Rutledge, and Blaine occur within Richland Valley.

On the South side of Hwy 11w are the Richland Knobs and Richland Creek runs parallel in between 11w and the knobs. South of 11w are Riverview and Lakeforest, Mine, Big, and Indian Ridges, Owl Hole Gap, Rich Hill, Promised Land, Happy, Christian, Tate, Perrin, Spencer, and Spoon Hollows, McCarty Ridge, Hopper Bluff, German Creek, Narrow and Mooresburg Valleys, Sycamore, Buffalo, May, Phillips, and Mitchell Springs, Roach, Burkhart, Noah, Coombs, Boyd, and Garvey Knobs, Smoky, Gilmore, Snaggy, and Julian Nance Islands, and Horseshoe Bend.

Grainger County History

Grainger County has the distinction of having the first paper mill in the South.

Grainger's most famous resident was Andrew Johnson who operated a small tailor shop in Rutledge and became the 17th President of the United States. A replica of the shop stands in front of the old Grainger County Courthouse.

The south is historically known for its "Gentleman Farmers" yet here in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, both men and women take a prominent role in the church, in politics, business, and in agriculture. Strong, sensible, and industrious women are a Grainger County mainstay. After all, Grainger County is the only Tennessee county named for a woman. Mary Grainger, wife of Governor William Blount, became the First Lady of the Territory South of the Ohio River.

Early Migration Routes

Migrating herds of bison seeking salt licks to the north beat a worn path though the wilderness, a path that was long traveled by Indians for hunting, trade, and warpath. This route later became the "Wilderness Road" in Daniel Boone's day. The pass through the northern valleys and onward toward Cumberland Gap was the early settlement route. Later, what is today Hwy 11w became a southern branch of the Wilderness Road to Kentucky, converging with the Great Wagon Trail heading west. It was soon the "Kentucky Road" and later dubbed "Dixie Highway." This intersection led to the formation of Bean's Fort and then, Bean Station, one of Grainger County's largest and newest cities. The Kentucky Road broke north through Clinch mountain along the route of what is now Old Highway 25e and passed through "Bean's Gap" and north to Cumberland Gap. Later, a second migration route continued westward from Bean Station toward White's Fort (Knoxville) and intersected with the Emery Road at Blains Crossroads (present-day Blaine). The Emery Road veered upwards, skirting Knoxville and moved on to Nashville. This route was, at various times, called the "North Carolina Road, Avery's Trace, the Emery Road and also and today, is spelled Emory Road. Later, Hwy 11w was connected from Knoxville to Nashville.

Tennessee and Kentucky had no permanent Indian settlements when the emigrants arrived. According to Cherokee, Chief Little Corn Planter it had remained unsettled for around 150 years; ever since the Cherokee and and Chickasaw Indians killed most of the indigenous Shawnee and drove the rest out. After the Shawnee vacated, it was treated as a shared hunting ground and place to settle disputes between rival tribes. The Great Trading Path (also called the Great Warrior's Path) ran from Chattanooga, through Jefferson County, and crossed the Holston near Rogersville before following the route shared by the Great Wagon Trail northward. The area containing Grainger County was officially off-limits for some time by royal decree. Even after the American Revolution, the area was slow to settle due to frequent attacks by roving bands of angry Indians from various tribes who'd lost land in treaties that they felt were invalidated by a lack of consensus among all the tribes that shared ownership of the hunting ground. Even many Cherokee objected to a treaty made between Cherokee and Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company. Chief Dragging Canoe declared that although the white men had gotten what they'd come for, they'd find the settlement of the land between the Watauga (Elizabethton) and Cumberland (Nashville) settlements on "Dark and Bloody Ground". For almost two decades, his band of Cherokee and other Indian tribes did their best to make it so.

The actual boundary of the territory ceded by treaty was determined by Hawkins and Pickens in 1797. Grainger county formed in 1796 from parts of Hawkins and Knox Counties. At various times, Grainger County included parts of Campbell, Claiborne, Hamblen, and Union Counties. Washburn was originally the county seat. Rutledge became the permanent county seat in 1801.

During the 1800s, Grainger County had a number of river ferries in operation that are no longer in existence. The ferry routes replaced by bridges, but in 1938, Robert Glendennig of Clark University wrote of Grainger County, "The county is laced with many roads, but the vast majority are poor and at times impassable. Only two of them can be classed as major highways. These cross each other in the eastern portion of the county, one forming a link in the route that leads north toward Cumberland Gap, the other a segment of the highway leading from Knoxville to the Virginia border and beyond. One single-track rail line cuts across the northwestern corner of the county but otherwise, rail facilities are lacking."

Industry History

"Grainger County's industrial growth has been marginal. The Shields family operated Holston Paper Mill, one of the earliest local industries. The Knoxville and Bristol Railway, which once ran through the Richland Creek Valley, succumbed to flooding. The vegetable canneries of the 1910s closed after a tomato blight destroyed their primary produce. Locally owned Clinchdale Lumber Company logged the county's timber in the early part of the century. Later, timbering gave way to knitting mills and zinc mining. Black marble is quarried in Thorn Hill. In 1974 the county built an industrial park to spark economic growth with mixed results. Almost half the people of the county now travel to surrounding towns for employment. Overall, the county remains one of small businesses and agriculture, although a 1999 count identified 3,643 residents employed in the industrial sector." — excerpt, The Tennessee Encyclopedia

Today, the largest employers in Grainger County are BAE Systems, Clayton Homes, and C.R. Daniels (canvas products) in Rutledge.

Turn of the Century Resorts

During the Victorian era and early 1900s, the tourism industry reached its height in the Appalachian Mountains...before the Great Depression. Wealthy industrial tycoons once flocked to the region for the mountain resorts, scenery, to hike the mountains, to hunt wild game, and boat and fish along the Clinch and Holston rivers. Resorts and sanitariums were built around mineral springs, which were thought, at the time, to offer homeopathic miracle cures for a wide variety of ailments. Resorts served as package-vacation destinations that were especially attractive at the time since people got around on foot or by horse and buggy and occasionally by boat or train. As it was, the nearest train stop was in Washburn on the other side of the mountain. Automobiles such as the Model-T were still a highly rare commodity and gas stations were uncommon. In the early 1900s, a popular passenger train route led from the top of White Top Mountain in Grayson County, VA to Abington, VA near the border of North Carolina. From there, the Kentucky Road led a straight shot west to Bean Station, the location of the area's most successful resort and exporter of mineral water, Tate Springs. Several other resorts popped up in Tennessee around this time. The nearest was Mineral Hill Springs Hotel and Sanitarium a few miles down the road nearer to Bean Station Tavern. Today, a modernized replica of Tate Springs Resort is in development.

Emery Road Marker, Blaine, TN.

Civil War - Historical Locations

Blaine, Tennessee was once known as "Blains Crossroads" due to its proximity to the residence of Robert Blaine. A major civil war skirmish occurred here near the Christmas of 1862 near Stone's Mill, the bridge of Richland Creek, and the Richland Creek Church. [Read about it at the Civil War Sourcebook 61kb]

[Download a free pdf viewer]

The following year, the famous Battle of Bean Station occurred on the opposite end of Grainger County. Ritters' Farms hosts a civil war reenactment of this battle at their farm in Rutledge every spring.

[See Things to Do in Grainger Co.]


There are two nationally recognized historical locations in Blaine: the Poplar Hill house (also called the Cynthia Lea House) and Shield's Station. Both are located along the roadside of Rutledge Pike (Rt.11w). Rutledge locations include the home of William Cocke, Henderson's A.M.E.Z. Church, and the Nance building. Grainger's most famous resident was Andrew Johnson who operated a small tailor shop in Rutledge and became the 17th President of the United States. A replica of the shop stands in front of the old Grainger County Courthouse.

The Tennessee Historical Commission has erected this historical marker [photo, right] in Blaine, near the intersection of 11w and Emory Road declaring an important earlier historical significance of the crossroad that led to the establishment of Shield's Station. In 1787 the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill authorizing militiamen to cut and clear a road west to the Cumberland Settlement (Nashville). This early pioneer settlement route was at various times called "The Cumberland Road", "Avery's Trace", and "Emery Road". It started in Blaine, Tennessee on the south side of Clinch Mountain and cleared a path northwestward through present-day Oak Ridge and other communities en route, to end at Nashville. Read more about the Emery Road at the website of East Tennessee historian, Smith D. Ray

Famous People

Famous names associated with Grainger County: James Ore, John Cocke, Sterling Cocke, William Cocke, William Michael Cocke, Lea family, Andrew Jackson, DeWitt Clinton Senter, Spencer Jarnagin, John K. Shields, W. S. Shields, John Williams, Dr. Herbert Acuff, Roy H. Beeler, Edward L. Tate, Theo Tate, Robert Taylor Jones, Charles C. Smith, James James, C. M. Dyer, George H. Greene, John Brooks, Joel Dyer, Michael McGuire, Harmon G. Lea. [See The Encyclopedia of Tennessee and The Political Graveyard ]

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Grainger County, TN Real Estate for Sale
Location: Grainger County
State: Tennessee
Area Code: 865
Zip Codes: 37709 37848 37708 37861 37881 37888

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Grainger County Relocation info

Local convenience centers to RECYCLE: Cardboard, newsprint, paper, and used motor oil

For all other recycling: Refer to Knoxville Recycling or take aluminum, plastics, tin, plastic drink bottles, milk jugs, cardboard, paper to the Goodwill center in Russelville (Hamblen) 423-586-6514 or 423-586-9963. They will come for larger pickups at industries. Address: 5888 Old Russelville Pike (1/2 mile east of Russelville school). Goodwill received a TRC award in 2006, in part, for its efforts that helped Grainger start up recycling centers. Contact the county mayor and planning commission to discuss expanding Grainger County's recycling program to meet the state-mandated landfill waste reduction goal.

Newspaper Timeline

  • 1883 - The Enterprise
  • 1887 - East Tennessee Eagle
  • 1900 - Rutledge Times
  • 1925-2007 - Grainger County News
  • 2004-present - Grainger Today
  • ?-present - The Standard Banner Plus

A note from the Chamber of Commerce: Please take advantage of all the work done by Mary Lynn Glimmer and her people in developing the Grainger County Archives at the Old Rutledge High School. The Archives are located on the top floor and are open to the public Monday and Tuesday 9:30 to 3:30 and on Wednesday from 9:30 to 12:30. There are workers available to assist anyone with historical questions of Grainger County and for family genealogy questions of the past. We commend them on this work and they are excited about helping all of us.

For more information on this project you can call 865-828-3693 or e-mail:

Grainger Co. Flickr Photos