A Day Away by Mike Steely
If you are tired of being cooped up with the rain and winter weather, you may want to take the family for a brief drive and visit some of the smaller communities that surround Knoxville.
Just north of Knoxville are several interesting communities including the Union County town of Luttrell.
The incorporated little town shares its name with James Churchwell Luttrell Jr., an attorney who served longer than any other as Knoxville Mayor in the 1800s. He was mayor during the Civil War and also served as the state comptroller and in the state Senate.
On a sunny and cold winter day recently, my wife and I drove through Fountain City to Tazewell Pike and headed northeast up the route through Gibbs and beyond. The feel of the land along the road beyond the Gibbs schools soon became very rural and much like the old East Tennessee I grew up in along the road marked Highway 131.
We were surprised at the number of Dollar General Stores along our drive. It seems that if any community has a gas station and a dozen citizens, it has a dollar store.
Just beyond the Corryton Road intersection is the little incorporated town of Plainview, complete with its own community center, a few shops and churches. The town is pretty spread out along the road and borders the city limits of the slightly larger Luttrell.
We turned south on Highway 61 and drove into the spread-out “downtown” Luttrell area, stopping at the town hall to take a photo.
Luttrell has a post office, its own utility district office, and about 1,100 citizens. Originally called “Cedar Ford,” the town developed around a lime kiln and marble quarry. After the railroad came through, the town became a shipping center and was incorporated in 1925. Marble from Luttrell was used to help build the Tennessee Capitol and various buildings in Washington, D.C.
The hometown of both Chet Atkins and Kenny Chesney, Luttrell proudly proclaims both with signs at the town hall. The city has a school, community center and park. It also has a variety of shops, a fireworks store, churches and a grocery store.
Turning back toward Knoxville we took Highway 61 south to Blaine and then followed Rutledge Pike home. You may take Highway 61 north to Maynardville and return to Knoxville by way of Maynardville Highway, Route 33.
Coming back by way of Blaine you might want to stop by the House Mountain State Recreation Area.
The Luttrell municipal building is located at 3514 Highway 61, or Main Street, and information may be obtained by calling the mayor’s office at (865) 992-0870.