Everybody has a home town. I guess mine is Kingsport, Tennessee, even though I was actually raised just north in a little nearby community across the state line in Virginia. Kingsport was our place to go for nearly everything we needed. Being an industrialized town it came with many amenities other towns of similar size might have to do without.
Kingsport is centered on a plain that lies near the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Holston River in East Tennessee. This has long been a gathering place for people passing through the area. Long Island is an ancient meeting place in the middle of the South Fork of the majestic Holston. Cherokee still own a piece of that property where treaties were signed and trading took place many moons ago.
Kingsport is built to a pattern laid out by a venerable city designer of the early 20th century by the name of John Nolen. It was designed to accommodate around 100,000 residents, but it only reached a third of that in actual development. The downtown district is laid out over several blocks fronted by the railroad to the southwest, with church circle to the east and crossed in the middle by Center Street. Church Circle is a beautiful spot with four colonial style churches that grace one side of the circle while a public building and a bank bedeck the other.
The city has relished a civic spirit that has accomplished many quality of life projects through the decades. The town has remained a neat community with parks, businesses, industry, organizations and access to natural beauty giving it energy and vitality.
Here’s my list of things I like best about this great town:
- The Historic Riverfront District
- Bay’s Mountain Park and Nature Preserve
- Warriors Path State Park
- Holston Valley Hospital (Wellmont)
- The multitude of churches
- The Kingsport Mets
- Chop House
- Pratt’s wooden Indian
- The Purple Cow
- Vince Staten’s column in the Kingsport Times News
- The spirit of the people in Colonial Heights who refuse to be annexed
- Artwork on Broad Street
- The library
The list changes with time. I’m sure there are Kingsporters out there who have their own list. The older I get the more I have come to realize that you have to appreciate what you have, because it will not always be there.
So here’s to Kingsport. It’s been thirty years since I lived there full time. I have been blessed to call it home.