Located in Marion County, Tennessee, a quaint town once called Cheekville, lies in the spectacular Sequatchie Valley between the cities of Jasper and Dunlap, and is bounded on either side by beautiful mountains. Named after a man from Wales, Whitwell was established in 1877 as a mining community, and was the home of the largest mine in Marion county. Many immigrants came here from Great Britain and the surrounding European countries for the opportunity to work in America. The town soon became a thriving community, growing around the coal mining and coke production done during that time. Whitwell was the county seat for many years until the new interstate system was built. The county seat was then moved to Jasper and remains there today. Whitwell was officially established as The City of Whitwell in 1956.
Many settlers came here because of it’s moderate climate, and it was an ideal place to raise crops and livestock. Farming became the up and coming way to make a living in Whitwell. By using the railway system which had been established to aid in hauling coal, you now had a distribution center for crops and a mode of transportation for people. Slowly, many people’s occupations switched from mining to farming as the production of fossil fuels in the Whitwell area decreased in the mid 1900’s.
Still others saw that industries were finding their way into the surrounding towns. South Pittsburg was beginning to produce steel, hoping to become the South’s major producer of steel and become the “Pittsburgh of the South”, thus it’s name. Nearby Chattanooga found itself as a booming industry town. Being perched along the massive berth of the Tennessee River as well as a popular connection for the railway system, Chattanooga was growing in just about every industry of the time.
As the focus of the work force moved into other nearby towns, Whitwell soon became mainly a farming community. But it’s beauty and serenity were still unsurpassed and remains so today. Many people simply could not leave this quaint little community. Today, we find that people feel Whitwell is still a great place to live and raise their families and choose to commute into Chattanooga and nearby towns to make a living. This means that Whitwell has many strong points such as being only 15 minutes from Interstate 24, 35 minutes from Chattanooga, yet in close proximity to hospitals and shopping.
In the Fall enjoy the dramatic colors in the landscape as you visit the Fall Color Cruise along the beautiful Tennessee River, and in the Spring come visit the world famous National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, TN.
Whitwell still has that small town hospitality and friendliness. People know their neighbors, have a strong faith in God and country, sit around the front porch of the grocery store to gossip, and they take life one day at a time. You can sit in your yard at night, listening to the crickets and owls while looking up into a spectacular starry night that you just couldn’t appreciate or see under the lights of the big city.
Also, now known the world over is the Children’s Holocaust Memorial and Paper Clips Project which is on permanent display at The Whitwell Middle School. There has also been a movie made about this, called ‘Paperclips’ that portrays how our school’s teachers taught our kids here about the devastation of intolerance.
Another activity that at least 99.99% (the other .01% hasnt been born yet) of the townsfolk here supports is the local High School football team at Whitwell High School! They’re the proud, the brave, and the fearless Whitwell Tigers!!! You’ll find strong rivalries with schools in nearby towns.