As the county seat of Montgomery County, Tennessee, Clarksville is the fifth largest city in the state behind Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga. Named after Revolutionary War hero General George Rogers Clark, Clarksville is the anchor city of the Clarksville TN-KY metro area spread over four counties with a population last estimated at 268,000 in 2009.
Behind La Vergne and Nashville, Clarksville ranks as the 3rd most diverse city in Tennessee and it has the 10th largest Hispanic population in the state. Just 5.5% of the population in Clarksville was born outside the U.S. Clarksville has the 4th highest per capita personal income in the state at $23,722.
Clarksville has seen a steady population rise since 1870. Annexation of neighboring communities such as New Providence and Saint Bethlehem in the 1960s, 70s and 80s saw a sharper increase in the decades to come, with the population having almost tripled since 1980 (and even then having more than tripled since 1950). Like other communities in Middle Tennessee, Clarksville is going through a population boom with a population growth of 13% in the last five years.
Clarksville stood as Cherokee land until the 1770s when European settlers started visiting the area. It city was founded in 1785 nd named for Revolutionary War hero General George Rogers Clark. It was incorporated in 1807.
After the American Revolutionary War, Clarksville was meant to be settled by soldiers of George Washington’s now-disbanded Continental Army. As the federal government lacked sufficient the money to pay the soldiers, the land was deemed ready and available through a land grant program. Since then, Clarksville has had an on-going interdependence between the citizens and the military.
By the 19th century, the town was growing at a rapid pace. At the start of the Civil War, tobacco, along with corn, flour and cotton, was one of the major commodity crops, depending heavily on slave labor. Clarksville voted unanimously with Montgomery County to secede and join the Confederate States of America.
The Reconstruction Era following the Civil War brought thriving development to Clarksville until the Great Fire of 1978 destroyed 15 acres of downtown Clarksville’s business district. The courthouse and many other historic buildings were lost to the fire.
The U.S. joining WWII in 1941 saw the construction of Camp Campbell (now known as Fort Campbell) and with it a huge boost to Clarksville’s population and economy.