Spring City, Tennessee

Spring City is a town in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census and 1,981 at the 2010 census. The town is located along Watts Bar Lake, and Watts Bar Dam and the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station are nearby.

Spring City, Tennessee
Location of Spring City in Rhea County, Tennessee.
Location of Spring City in Rhea County, Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°41′22″N 84°51′50″W / 35.68944°N 84.86389°W / 35.68944; -84.86389Coordinates: 35°41′22″N 84°51′50″W / 35.68944°N 84.86389°W / 35.68944; -84.86389
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.80 sq mi (7.25 km2)
 • Land2.76 sq mi (7.16 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)
761 ft (232 m)
 • Total1,981
 • Estimate 
 • Density674.75/sq mi (260.53/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
37337, 37381
Area code(s)423
FIPS code47-70400[3]
GNIS feature ID1303755[4]


Spring City began as a stop along the Cincinnati Southern Railroad in the 1870s. The town was originally named Sulphur Springs, because of the mass amount of sulphur in the water. Sometime later came about "Rheaville," and later became incorporated with nearby Rhea Springs, and took on the name Rhea Springs. Due to an explosion, much of the town flooded or burnt, and the town relocated to its current location and was renamed Spring City, in honor of the original settlement, Sulphur Springs. The original location now lies at the bottom of a nearby section of Watts Bar Lake.Spring City thrived as a railroad shipping hub during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its first depot, a simple wooden building constructed in 1879, burned in 1892, and was replaced by a larger one.[5] This second depot was in turn replaced by the current depot, which was completed by the Southern Railway in 1909.[6]

Spring City Depot, completed in 1909

The city received an economic boost in 1942 with the Tennessee Valley Authority's completion of Watts Bar Dam and its associated reservoir southeast of the town. That same year saw the completion of the Watts Bar Fossil Plant, TVA's first coal-fired plant. In 1973, TVA began building Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station. Its first reactor, Watts Bar Unit 1, became active in 1996. The construction of the second reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, was originally suspended in 1985, but resumed in 2007. It is expected to be completed in 2016.[7]

On August 22, 1955, 11 schoolchildren were killed, and many others injured, when their school bus was struck by a freight train at a track crossing in Spring City.

On July 28, 2016, a train hauling coal derailed by the train depot and museum due to a faulty wheel on one of the privately owned coal cars. There were no casualties. A lengthy cleanup followed, where both track crossings in town had to be closed while repairs were made and debris cleared.


Spring City is located at 35°41′22″N 84°51′50″W / 35.68944°N 84.86389°W / 35.68944; -84.86389 (35.689422, -84.863885).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), of which, 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.21%) is water.


Census Pop.
Est. 20181,865[2]−5.9%

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 2,025 people, 861 households, and 533 families residing in the town. The population density was 829.9 people per square mile (320.4/km²). There were 974 housing units at an average density of 399.2 per square mile (154.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.52% White, 4.49% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.05% Asian, and 0.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

There were 861 households out of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 24.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $27,009, and the median income for a family was $31,894. Males had a median income of $27,692 versus $22,050 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,506. About 15.5% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.7% of those under age 18 and 18.8% of those age 65 or over.



  1. ^ "2018 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. June 27, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ Pat Guffey, "Historical Notes About Spring City," Rhea Herald-News, 5 September 2014.
  6. ^ Carroll Van West, Tennessee's Historic Landscapes (University of Tennessee Press, 1995), p. 233.
  7. ^ "Watts Bar Unit 2 Reactivation," United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. April 2015. Retrieved: 8 July 2015.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  10. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.

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