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How The “Scruffy City” Got Its Name


Knoxville is widely known for its many attractions. The beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, its great sports scene, and amazing food are among the most popular. With its numerous attractions, it is hard for locals and tourists to stay away. It hasn’t been such an attractive city forever, though. Knoxville’s nickname, “The Scruffy City”, is a reference to its scruffy past.

Image result for 1982 worlds fair
Knoxville during the 1982 World’s Fair, which hosted over 11 million visitors from around the world.

Knoxville was referred to as a “scruffy little city,” in 1980 by the Wall Street Journal in reference to its bid to host the World’s Fair. Since then, Knoxville planted thousands of trees and invested in its rich history – all while embracing the name. Soon, the “scruffy little city” was scruffy no more. The city is bringing in a record number of visitors to its historical landmarks, and recreational attractions. Add in the arts and food scene, and a world-class higher education research facility in the University of Tennessee.

Knoxville also boasts a lot of outdoor recreation, both downtown and in the suburbs. The Urban Wilderness is a 1,000-acre corridor that runs along the Tennessee River. It includes 10 parks and nearly 20 miles of trails. Civil War forts, historic sites, and other recreational amenities can be found here. The Smokey Mountains are just around the corner, with ample opportunity for camping, hiking, and nature exploration for the whole family.

Wear the Scruffy City proudly with our exclusive new t-shirt. Remember, a portion of all proceeds benefits United Way of Knoxville. Look good and do good while representing the Scruffy City, Knoxville!

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