Bristol, Tennessee: Wikis


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Bristol, Tennessee
—  City  —
A sign welcomes visitors to the twin cities of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.
Nickname(s): The Birthplace of Country Music
Motto: A Good Place To Live
Location of Bristol, Tennessee
Coordinates: 36°35′42″N 82°11′19″W / 36.595°N 82.18861°W / 36.595; -82.18861
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Sullivan
 - Mayor Fred Testa
 - Total 29.5 sq mi (76.4 km2)
 - Land 29.4 sq mi (76.1 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 1,676 ft (511 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 24,821
 Density 845.8/sq mi (326.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 37620, 37621, 37625
Area code(s) 423
FIPS code 47-08540[1]
GNIS feature ID 1327702[2]
State Street separates Virginia (left) and Tennessee (right).

Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 24,821 at the 2000 census. It is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, which lies directly across the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. The boundaries of both cities run parallel to each other along State Street located in their common downtown district. Bristol is a principal city of Kingsport–Bristol–Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.

Bristol is probably best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, and later a favorite venue of the legendary mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne. Congress recognized Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music in 1998. Bristol is the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Bristol is the site of Bristol Motor Speedway a NASCAR short track that routinely sells out more than 160,000 seats twice annually.



Bristol is located at 36°34′9″N 82°11′51″W / 36.56917°N 82.1975°W / 36.56917; -82.1975 (36.569135, -82.197489)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 square miles (76.4 km²), of which, 29.4 square miles (76.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.44%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 24,821 people, 10,648 households, and 6,825 families residing in the city. The population density was 845.8 people per square mile (326.5/km²). There were 11,511 housing units at an average density of 392.2/sq mi (151.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.15% White, 2.97% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.68% of the population.

The Grand Guitar on West State Street

There were 10,648 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,039, and the median income for a family was $37,341. Males had a median income of $28,210 versus $21,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,535. About 11.5% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.


As of July 2009, the following individuals were major figures in Bristol's government:

  • Mayor, Fred Testa
  • Vice Mayor, Margaret Feierabend
  • Councilman, Joel Staton
  • Councilman, Jim Messimer
  • Councilman, David Shumaker
  • City Manager, Jeff Broughton
  • City Attorney, Jack W. Hyder, Jr.
  • Finance Director/City Recorder, Tara E. Musick
  • School Board Chairman, Gwen Ellis
  • School Board Vice Chairman, Mary Brown
  • School Board Secretary, Tony Turner
  • School Boardmember, Nelson Pyle
  • School Boardmember, Kelly Buskell



"Birthplace of Country Music"

Bristol is considered to be the "Birthplace of Country Music," according to a resolution passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998 recognizing its contributions to early country music recordings and influence.

In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional "folk" music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family, which got its start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol to audition for Ralph Peer, who was seeking new talent for the relatively embryonic recording industry. They received $50 for each song they recorded. That same visit by Peer to Bristol also resulted in the first recordings by Jimmie Rodgers.[4]

Since 1994 the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance[5] has promoted the city as a destination to learn about country music and the city's role in the creation of an entire music genre. Currently, the Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.[6]

Professional sports

Bristol is the location of Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR Sprint Cup track, and the world's largest amphitheater.

A Chicago White Sox R-league minor league affiliate, the Bristol White Sox, plays its home games at Devault Memorial Stadium in Bristol, Virginia.








King College

Notable current and former residents

Police Department

Bristol Police Department
Abbreviation BPD
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Bristol in the state of Tennessee, United States
General nature
Operational structure
Sworn members 69
Unsworn members 25
Agency executive Blaine E. Wade, Chief
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Bristol, Tennessee Police Department is the municipal law enforcement agency for the city. The BPD has 69 sworn officers and 25 civilian supportive staff. It also makes use of citizen volunteers as an auxiliary staff that saves the department over $100,000 annually.[7]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ David Sanjek, "All the Memories Money Can Buy: Marketing Authenticity and Manufacturing Authorship", p. 155–172 in Eric Weisbard, ed., This is Pop, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01321-2 (cloth), ISBN 0-674-01344-1 (paper). p. 158.
  5. ^ Birthplace of Country Music Alliance
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Bristol Police Department website

External links

Coordinates: 36°34′09″N 82°11′51″W / 36.569135°N 82.197489°W / 36.569135; -82.197489


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