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The new Tennessee Pink Marble Trail is a 34 mile loop starting in Downtown Knoxville and covering a 5 mile radius. While it will only take less than an hour to drive it, you will want to allow more than a full day to take advantage of all the potential activities. Bring your hiking shoes and camera and for less than $20 per person, you can tour 10 attractions and 177 years of Knoxville’s marble history. Visit mapq.st/1N3hJ1U for an online map and directions.
Trail Launches with a New Brochure
Tennessee Pink Marble Trail Brochure – pick up a copy at Visit Knoxville or any of the locations along the Trail.
The Tennessee Pink Marble Trail celebrates the proud heritage of the craftsman who created practical pieces, as well as works of art with this special pink stone. The goal of the driving Trail is to link bigger and smaller attractions together in an effort to cross-promote more than 10 tourism attractions in Knoxville, once known by the nickname of “Marble City.”
The new 34-mile Tennessee Pink Marble Trail encircles a 5-mile radius connecting downtown to primarily South Knoxville attractions highlighting the stone architecture of the Chapman Highway Dogwood Trail
and the reclaimed Mead’s Quarry at Ijams Nature Center
, along with various stops along the Urban Wilderness Loop
and nearby historic homes. Visitors and residents alike will appreciate touring established attractions with a scavenger hunt in mind. Once you can identify Tennessee Pink Marble, you will see it everywhere throughout the region. In the recent past, supplies were so abundant that many local public schools and churches have marble hallways, restrooms and window sills. Even kids enjoy spotting pink marble in unexpected places. Certainly, the history buff will enjoy learning about the impact of the marble industry on Knoxville and the average tourist will appreciate the beauty left behind as a legacy of Marble City.
Technically, it’s limestone. The stone occurs in the belts of Ordovician-period rocks known as the Holston Formation. Tennessee Marble is actually a type of crystalline limestone, but it resembles marble when polished. Long esteemed by architects and builders for its pinkish-gray color, its hardness and the ease with which it is polishes, Pink Rose is the most well-known, but is also occurs in gray, dark burgundy “cedar” and variegated shades.
The first major quarry operations date back to 1838 and Knoxville became known as the polishing and distribution center for this popular stone. Once you can identify Tennessee Pink Marble, you will see it everywhere throughout the East Tennessee region. The use of Tennessee Marble declined after World War II when cheaper building materials became widely available. Today, only one marble quarry sells Tennessee Pink Marble, the Tennessee Marble Company in Friendsville.
Literally, Knoxville’s history is written in stone due to the industrial boom of the marble industry. Pick up a freecopy of the Tennessee Pink Marble Trail brochure at the Visit Knoxville Welcome Center or at any of the stops along the Trail.
Trail Stops Include:
A. Downtown Gay Street, East Tennessee History Center, Knoxville Post Office
B. Knoxville Museum of Art
C. Fort Dickerson Civil War Park and Quarry
D. Candoro Marble Arts and Heritage Center
E. Marble Springs: Gov. John Sevier Home
F. Ramsey House Plantation
G. Knoxville Botanical Garden
H. Ijams Nature Center and Mead’s Quarry
I. Urban Wilderness: Hastie Natural Area
J. Chapman Hwy. Dogwood Trail/Lake Forest
K. Lindbergh Forest Neighborhoods