Today’s featured waterfront in our Nashville Waterfront blog series is the Tennessee River. The Tennessee River, which is the largest tributary of the Ohio River, has been known by many names and is present through much of history, which makes it a very interesting river to take a deeper look into!
The Tennessee River appears on French maps from the 17th century by the names “Capquinampo,” or “Kasqui.” Later maps from the 18th century see it called “Cussate,” “Hogohegee,” “Callamaco,” and “Acanseapi.” A British map dated 1755 calls the river the “River of the Cherokees.” By the late 18th century, it had been dubbed “Tennessee,” a name derived from the Cherokee village, Tanasi.
Today, the river is an important part of the Great Loop, the recreation circumnavigation of Eastern North America by water. It is 652 miles long and used more and more for recreational boating and fun, as well as fishing, camping and picnicking around its shores. A fun fact about the Tennessee River is that is is home to over 100 species of mussels!
The Kentucky Lake is a reservoir of the Tennessee River located in Kentucky and Tennessee.It was created in 1944 by the Tennessee Valley Authority’s impounding of the Tennessee River by Kentucky Dam. The lake is 160,309 acres and the largest manmade lake by surface area in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. It provides hydro-electric power and offers a lot of recreational use opportunities in western Kentucky and Tennessee including hiking, biking, huting, fishing, camping, boating and more!
The lake is a magnet for vacationers and locals alike, bringing in some 17 million visitors each year. It is home to numerous boat docks and resorts, four state marks, the Tennessee National Wildlife refuge, 48 public access areas, two county parks, five municipal parks, two state wildlife management areas, 10 group camps and clubs, 92 recreation areas and three small wildlife areas.