History of Kingsport Tennessee
The town of Kingsport was formally known as “Salt Lick” as it rested along the banks of the South Fork of the Holston River. The island was a valuable site for the Cherokee, pioneers and early settlers of this region. The early settlements at this site were used as base for people taking the Wilderness Road leading to Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap. The town was first chartered in 1822 and later became an important shipping port on the Holston River.
In 1864, the Battle of Kingsport broke out and a force of 300 Confederates stopped a larger Union force for nearly two days. The small band of Confederates held off the Union force on one side, another group of Union soldiers came up behind them and attacked. The Confederates were out-numbered, out-flanked and demoralized by the bitter winter weather forcing them to surrender. The Confederates suffered 18 dead, and 84 prisoners of war were sent to a Union prison in Knoxville. The town eventually lost its charter due to a loss of fortunes caused by the Civil War.
Kingsport was re-chartered in 1917 and was considered an early example of a “garden city”. Designed by city planner and landscape architect John Nolen, the town carries the nickname the Model City. This organized the town into areas for commerce, churches, housing and industries. Some of the earliest uses of traffic circles in the United States were found here.