An historic detour in West Knox County
Driving through West Knox County, it is often hard to imagine a time when sprawling subdivisions and miles and miles of shopping centers didn’t dominate the landscape. This was however, the part of Tennessee where the nation’s first Navy Admiral was born, and once upon a time a thriving town along the Tennessee River helped fuel the local economy.
Just a couple of mile off Kingston Pike you’ll find the historic Village of Concord. This picturesque community stretches out a few blocks along Ft. Loudoun Lake near the intersections of Concord Road and Northshore Drive. Founded in 1854, Concord was a transportation hub with the railroad, a main highway and several ferries crossing the river. Much of the area’s marble was shipped out of Concord. Eventually, economic changes, the creation of Ft. Loudoun Lake and new highways led to a decline in the importance of Concord.
Luckily, for history lovers (or just people who like a scenic detour) many of the historic homes and buildings remain in Concord. The small business district sits right below the railroad tracks with a panoramic view of Ft. Loudoun Lake. A few small buildings line Lake Ridge Drive, the town’s main drag. There are two stately brick buildings, which appear to be lovingly restored. One has the word “Bank” chiseled over the front doors. A few doors down, a beige colored stone building with rustic wooden doors sits at the corner of Lake Ridge Drive and Clay Street. Walking along the streets in Concord, it is easy to think back to the time when barges, trains and lots of people were passing through the town.
Several of the churches that filled the town have moved on to larger buildings elsewhere in the area, but the stately Concord Presbyterian Church with its golden spire and slim windows with sleek wooden shutters remains. The church traces its roots back more than 200 years. The church bell still rings on the hour, a stark reminder of times when people couldn’t check their cell phones for the time. In addition to the historic business and the church, Concord is also home to a wide collection of historic homes. Driving around Concord, it’s easy to forget the suburban sprawl all around you. At times, you might even think you’re in some small New England town. Concord is a great place to take a detour or just take a nice stroll.
Across the water you will find several small parks along Ft. Loudoun Lake including Admiral Farragut Park and the Cove, an extremely popular spot at Christmas when you can walk through acres of lighted sculptures and displays.