Timeline of State Capitols in Tennessee

December 11, 2019, Frank Caperton, Rutherford County Historical Society

Did you know six Tennessee cities have served as our state capital since the state’s founding in 1796? And, two cities have hosted our capital more than once. Also, one city was our state capital for only one day!

Knoxville: 1796-1812 and 1817-1818

Initially Knoxville was the capital of the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio from 1792 until 1796.

Knoxville also served as the capital of of the new state of Tennessee – twice! Knoxville served as the state capital from 1796 until 1812, then a second time from 1817 to 1818.

Kingston: 1807

Kingston was the Tennessee state capital for only one day- September 21, 1807!

The Tennessee General Assembly gathered in Kingston, declared Kingston to it to be the State’s capital, passed one solitary piece of legislation and then adjourned.

Murfreesborough (Murfreesboro): 1818-1826

The Tennessee state capital was located in Murfreesboro from 1818 until 1826.

The State Assembly left in 1826, never to return, but Murfreesborough’s aspiration for the permanent State Capital never subsided, at least not until 1843, when the ultimate decision was made to locate it, once and for all, in Nashville.  Although the community’s political preeminence was somewhat subdued during the next several years there were several periods of resurgence.  Many aspirants for governor and national officers still used the Murfreesborough platform to launch campaigns. In a belated attempt to honor Andrew Jackson, the Hero of New Orleans, and to enhance his political fortunes, a great reception and celebration were conducted for him on his visit to the town in 1828.

Nashville: 1826 – present day

Nashville has been the host city of our stat capital since 1828.

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