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Fountain City Greenway, Park and Recreation Center History

Fountain City was originally a separate suburban community from Knoxville, and was the largest unincorporated city in the United States until its annexation by the city of Knoxville in 1962. Fountain City was first known as Fountain Head, named for the large fountain in the center of the city.

In the late 1800s, people came to the present day Fountain City Park area to camp overnight. They used water from the Fountain Head for cooking and drinking. The park was a gathering place in the 1800s when religious camp meetings were held in the vicinity of Fountain Head. At the campground, many large revivals were held.

Fountain Head acquired a reputation as a health resort and during the yellow fever epidemics in Memphis in the 1870s. Many refugees left Memphis and came to the mountains of East Tennessee. A group took shelter in the cabins in the Fountain Head campground, where several refugees died. The people of the neighborhood were reluctant to bury the remains. W.A. Conner and George Weaver volunteered to do so and buried them in the Smithwood cemetery.

The gazebo dedicated on May 27, 1991 was built to resemble the gazebo in the Park in the 1860s. At its dedication, citizens buried a time capsule containing present day memorabilia. The park was a hub of city social life in its early days, having a dance hall and bandstand.




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