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About Monroe County TN
Ranked largest in land area among Tennessee's 95 counties, Monroe County is home to Volunteer Federal. The area is blessed with many beautiful rivers, mountains, valleys, streams and lakes. A portion of the southern Cherokee National Forest is in Monroe County, with thousands of acres of forested mountains and rivers, and enormous opportunity for outdoor recreation. Monroe County is located in the southeast corner of the state. As of July, 2009, the population approximated 45,000, with 23% urban and 77% rural. Its county seat is Madisonville. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 653 square miles, of which, 635 square miles of it is land and 18 square miles of it (2.71%) is water. The county was established shortly after the signing of the Calhoun Treaty by the Cherokee in 1819, which relinquished the area to the United States. There are 4 cities/towns within the county; Madisonville, Tellico Plains, Vonore, and - the largest - Sweetwater, as well as many unincorporated communities.
Map of Monroe County TN shows Sweetwater, Vonore, Madisonville, and Tellico Plains Tennessee.
The county has a strong industrial base, with approximately 65 industries located in its industrial parks, currently providing ample job opportunities. Industries providing employment: Manufacturing (36.8%), Educational,health and social services (14.6%), Retail trade (10.2%). December 2009 cost of living index in Monroe County: 80.4 (low, U.S. average is 100).


The city of Madisonville originally began as the Town of Tellico, founded in 1819. It is situated along US Highway 411 and TN Highway 68, near the center of Monroe County. The city was founded as the county seat and its name was changed from "Tellico" to "Madisonville" in 1830, by a petition presented by a local Tennessee state representative James Madison Greenway, to honor President James Madison, his namesake. Madisonville was incorporated on May 16, 1850. The Monroe County Airport (MNV) is a county-owned, public-use airport located two nautical miles (3.7 km) northwest of the central business district of Madisonville, with a 3600' x 75' runway. C. Estes Kefauver, a US Congressman and US Senator, was born in Madisonville in 1903. Madisonville is home to Hiwassee College.

hiking trail in Monroe County TN
Monroe County Courthouse in Downtown Madisonville


With a vibrant downtown and commercial areas, parks and recreational facilities, Sweetwater is a community rich in tradition and excited about its future. Cultural programming, state of the art health care, and a strong church community all add to the quality of life. During the early 1800s, development occurred along the Sweetwater Creek in anticipation of the coming of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. I.T. Lenoir was selling lots for the town of Sweetwater in 1852, and an election was held to incorporate the City of Sweetwater in 1875. Sweetwater is home to The Lost Sea, America's largest underground lake and a local attraction. Interstate 75 runs along the western edge of Sweetwater, and development in the most recent decades has created a commercial district along TN Highway 68.

attractions in monroe county Lost Sea
Sweetwater Tennessee downtown shopping
Shopping for antiques in Sweetwater Tennessee

Bald River Falls in Tellico Plains TN
Tellico Plains

Located on the Tellico River where it emerges from the higher peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, Tellico Plains was the site of a Cherokee town called Talliquah or Great Tellico, one of their more important towns in the 18th century. Early European settlers, mainly Scots and Irish, came to Tellico Plains along trading routes from the Carolinas and Virginia. Many current residents can trace their ancestry back to early land grants given after the Revolutionary War. Industrial development in the area began in the early 1800s, with iron works, lumbering, tannic acid extracts, and slate mining. The 20th century saw cotton mills, Stokely vegetable canning, and sewing factories. A National Scenic Byway, the Cherohala Skyway begins in the town of Tellico Plains. This beautiful mountainous drive will take you through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville, North Carolina, providing residents and visitors with abundant opportunity to enjoy the unique natural beauty of the area.

Camping in tellico plains tenn Downtown tellico plains tn in Spring


On the northeast border of Monroe County, Vonore's location at the junction of the Little Tennessee River and the Tellico River places it near the center of one of the richest archaeological regions in the southeastern United States, spanning 8,000 years of continuous human habitation. When explorers and settlers began to arrive in the 1700s, the Cherokee had established several villages along the Little Tennessee River in this area, including Tuskegee, the birthplace of Sequoyah, creator of the written Cherokee syllabary. The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, a property of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, welcomes visitors to learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians in East Tennessee. Fort Loudoun was one of the earliest British fortifications on the western colonial frontier, built in 1756. It has been reconstructed accurately and today operates as a Tennessee State Historic Park. In 1979 the Tennessee Valley Authority completed the Tellico Dam at the mouth of the Little Tennessee, raising the water to create Tellico Lake, creating recreational opportunities, waterfront properties, and an industrial park in Vonore.

Fishing on the Little Tennessee River in Vonore TN
Cherokee Indian heritage in Vonore Tennessee at Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
Little Tennessee River & Tellico Rivers in Vonore TN

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