Hamblen County

Laura Yard Hill Hall at Morristown College (National Park Service photo)


Tennessee has seen quite a few small, private colleges and universities shut down over the years. One of the most important was Morristown College, a historically black college in Hamblen County.

Like many other private, historically black colleges (such as Knoxville College and Fisk University in Nashville) Morristown College struggled after public schools integrated in the 1960s. In 1995, Morristown College shut down, and many of its buildings fell down or burned down during the next 15 years.

Today the former campus is a public park.

Downtown Morristown

Morristown may also be the only small town in America with sidewalks on the second floor.

Back in the 1970s, when its downtown was renovated, the idea of second-floor sidewalks seemed to make sense.

After all, with sidewalks on the street, and sidewalks on the second floor as well, buildings in downtown Morristown would get twice as much commerce, right?

The Hamblen County Courthouse


Today people in Morristown don’t agree about whether this was a good idea. But they can at least tell other people from across the state about their second-floor sidewalks.