Knoxville to Sweetwater is 47 miles South – Off Interstate take exit 388A
Sweetwater is in Monroe County. A legend states that the town’s name originated from settler’s descriptions of area springs. Sweetwater was established in the 1850s on a series of lots sold by Isaac Lenoir (1807–1875), a local politician and son of the founder of Lenoir City (located a few miles to the northeast). Sweetwater was officially incorporated in 1875.
The town has several blocks of historical buildings. Lee Hwy/ Hwy 11 runs through town. Most of the historic buildings face the railroad and the gazebo. There are several stores that sell antiques, collectibles and home décor.
Below – Cooney’s Corner Antiques, Cones Cupboard Antiques, Mike Todd Antiques
Below – Lily Pad Boutique
The passenger train was one of Sweetwater’s favorite attractions in the early 1900’s. There is a standard joke of the train conductor who, when asked by a passenger how many people lived in Sweetwater, replied, “Just raise your window and count them! They all gather at the station to see if any strangers come to town or if anyone leaves town when the train arrives!”
Sweetwater Heritage Museum
The museum gallery contains artifacts, pictures, and information pertaining to the history of Sweetwater County, from the prehistoric era through recent history. From a dinosaur footprint to a full size coal car
Features of national significance include the world’s largest underground lake and the rare anthodite formation (cave flowers). The cave also contains numerous other forms of stalactites and stalagmites. The bones and footprints of a giant Pleistocene jaguar have been found; the animal measured approximately 8 feet long and weighed 500 pounds – 140 Lost Sea Road
Biggs Home – oldest home in Sweetwater circa 1820 (picture below) – Main Street & Biggs Street
(picture below) TMI Academy historic marker reads: (on Hwy 11 north of town) Founded in 1874 on College Street as Sweetwater Militay College by Dr. J. Lynn Bachman, the name was changed to Tennessee Military Institute in 1902 and T M I ACADEMY in 1975. It was relocated to this site in 1909 as a preparatory school. Presidents Dr. Bachman, 1874-1902; Col. O. C. Hulvey, 1902-1918; Col. C. R. Endsley, 1918-1956; Col. C. R. Endsley, Jr., 1956 – 1972; and C. W. Price, vice-president, 1920-1966, provided continuity of purpose. Its many graduates are prominent world wide in military, medicine, science, commerce, and government