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The county is at the geographical center of the Great Valley of East Tennessee. Near the heart of the county is the origin of the Tennessee River at the union of the Holston and French Broad Rivers. Its county seat and largest city is Knoxville.
The location of Knoxville, in the heart of the valley and at the headwaters of the Tennessee River, makes the city a center for the region's economy, culture, and history. Knoxville is home to pioneers in industry, leaders in the arts, and traditionalists working to preserve our heritage. Knoxville's culture and history can be explored and discovered in its 20 museums, numerous performing arts venues, and its historic neighborhoods.
Cherokee Caverns is located 14 miles west of Knoxville on Highway 62. It was discovered in 1854 by Robert Crudgington who noticed fog emerging between rocks on his farm. He dug the entrance open and explored the cave. His daughter Margaret Crudgington opened the cave to the public in 1929 under the name Gentrys Cave, then changed the name to Grand Caverns in 1930. The cave has been open to the public, sporadically, ever since, under a variety of names. The name currently in use is Cherokee Caverns.