Concord, Tennessee is a village east of the Town of Farragut and West on Knoxville in Knox County that is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Village of Concord began to develop in 1854. Before that time, the area was sparsely settled. Large farms were centered on the Tennessee River, and relied on a nearby settlement, Campbell’s Station, for trade and other urban needs. In 1853, construction of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad along the north bank of the Tennessee River caused a population and development shift to the area that became Concord.(1)
Concord was founded and platted in 1854 on land owned by James M. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers caused 55 lots to be laid out, and gave the new town the name Concord.2 He began to sell lots in 1855, but later moved to California. Shortly before he moved, he sold his land in the larger tracts that still exist in some sections of the Village.(1)
Concord developed rapidly after the arrival of the railroad. The first dwelling in Concord, a boarding house, was built by Shadrack Callaway.(2) Combining the existing river transportation with the railroad made Concord the nucleus of several communities on the north side of the river, including Campbell’s Station, Loveville and Ebenezer. (1)
During the civil war in the fall of 1863 prior to the Battle of Campbell Station, the 24th Kentucky Union Regiment(3) and the 103rd Ohio Union Regiment(4) camped near Concord.
During this time supplies were appropriated from several area farms including Callaway’s Landing(5) and the Pleasant Forest Cumberland Presbyterian Church one mile north of Concord was dismantaled. The bricks were used to build fireplaces for the Union Army.(6)
The railroad also created a transportation market with communities in Blount County like Friendsville and Louisville, which were connected to Concord by ferry, but were not to have rail transportation until the 1890s.(1)
In the 1880s Concord became the center of a large marble business. Several quarries were located near the Tennessee River in Calloway’s Ridge. The town also became the center of marble shipping. Quarries in the Louisville and Friendsville area, on the south side of the river, shipped East Tennessee marble to Concord to take advantage of the town’s rail connections. In 1883, four marble companies were operating - the Lima and East Tennessee Company, Stamps Wood & Company, the Stewart Company and the Republic Company.(1)
The Juanita Company built a mill for sawing and polishing marble; the facility became the property of Enterprise Marble Company in 1886. The last company to quarry marble extensively was the Enterprise Marble Company. None of the buildings associated with the marble industry in Concord remain today; many were flooded when Fort Loudon Lake was impounded. Only the foundation on which a crusher sat remains; the crusher was used to produce terrazzo chips.(1)
By 1887 Concord was the largest town in Knox County excepting Knoxville. The Village of Concord was a regional transportation center. Marble, logs and farm produce were gathered at its public dock. Passenger ferries and commercial boats landed there. The railroad provided passenger connections to Knoxville and other cities. In addition to rail transportation, a paved road from Lenoir City to Knoxville traveled along what is now Olive Road, providing all-weather connections to other highways in the area.(1)
In the early 1900s, the town had grown to include several general stores, a brickyard, lime kiln, inn, saloon, two livery stables, an undertaking establishment, two flour mills, a railroad depot, private schools, a bank, a post office, an ice cream parlor, a drug store, specialty shops, a barber shop and churches. In 1916, fire destroyed much of the business district.(1)
The Depression of the 1930s brought economic hardship to Concord. New building materials lessened the use of East Tennessee marble, and caused the marble industry to go into a decline from which it never recovered. The impoundment of Fort Loudon Lake, which inundated about one-third of the town by 1944, sealed the decline. Portions of the railroad were relocated to higher adjacent ground and continued to carry freight, but did not provide passenger service. The development of automobiles and new transportation routes also contributed to Concord’s economic isolation.(1)
Beginning in the 1970’s the area began to rebound as it became a bedroom community for the growing city of Knoxville. Since that time it has gone from a rural area to very upscale urbanized community that has unfortunately left most of its rural roots behind.
1. ”Village of Concord 1855-2001 Design Guidelines,” Prepared by Knox County Historic Zoning Commission/Knoxville, Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission/Suite 403 City County Building/400 Main St./Knoxville, TN 37901
2. Page 883 History of Tennessee The Goodspeed Publishing Co., Nashville, TN, 1887
3. Page 89 and 92 of A Checkered Life by Col. John A. Joyce (S.P. Rounds Jr. 175 Monroe Street, Chicago, 1883)
4. Page 148,"History of the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1862-1865" by William C. Stark as a Master's thesis at The Cleveland State University, December 1986.
5.Claim Letter on Save Callaway’s Landing web site, www.savecallawayslanding.com
6. The Centennial Anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, Tennessee and the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the Ministry of Rev. James Park, D. D. ( Published by Bean, Warters & Gaut, Printers and Binders, 1897 and republished by Knox County TNGenWeb, www.knoxcotn.org
Websites of Interest:
Knox County TNGenWeb (http://www.knoxcotn.org)