Visitor Guide: Church Hill

Church Hill, incorporated in 1958, is the largest of the five incorporated towns of Hawkins County. The city is named for the First United Methodist Church, or the “church on the hill”, which overlooks the downtown area.

Laurel Run Park, Church Hill, Tennessee

In the heart of East Tennessee, where the Holston River sings its ancient song, whispers wind through the leaves of a history older than time. This is Church Hill, a town whose story is woven with the fabric of resilience, etched in the lines of rolling hills and the murmur of Laurel Run.

Before the white settlers crossed the Appalachians, Cherokee whispers rippled through the valleys. They called this land “Chota,” a hunting ground teeming with life. Arrowheads still glitter in the sunlight, reminders of a vanished way. Then came the pioneers, their axes echoing through the stillness, carving farms from the wilderness. A church perched atop a hill became their beacon, giving Church Hill its name and its soul.

Years spun by like cotton yarn on a spinning wheel. Tobacco fields kissed the sunrise, their golden leaves fueling prosperity. Steamboats churned up the Holston, bringing trade and tales from faraway lands. Laurel Run, a hidden creek weaving through the heart of the town, witnessed childhood laughter and dreams carried on its current. In its gurgling symphony, secrets were whispered and hopes set sail.

The 20th century arrived, its wheels turning with change. The mines yawned open, swallowing young men who came out bearing coal dust and dreams of a better life. Laurel Run Park, then mere farmland, witnessed their families gather for picnics and laughter, a respite from the grime and darkness below.

Then came the flood of ’77, a biblical deluge that tore through the valley. Laurel Run roared, overflowing its banks, snatching away homes and memories. But from the devastation, a new spirit rose. The park, once ravaged, became a symbol of hope, rebuilt by calloused hands and brimming hearts. Trails snaked through the woods, playgrounds echoed with children’s joy, and Laurel Run sang again, a melody of resilience.

In 1984, Hollywood descended, transforming the park into a cinematic canvas. “The River,” a tale of family and the indomitable spirit, unfolded against the backdrop of its wooded slopes. Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek brought the story to life, etching Laurel Run’s beauty onto the silver screen.

Today, Church Hill and Laurel Run stand hand in hand, their stories intertwined. Visitors hike the trails, chasing waterfalls and memories. Picnics blanket the grounds, laughter carried on the wind. Laurel Run still whispers secrets, echoing tales of generations past. For in this town, history is not a monument, but a living tapestry woven into the very fabric of its existence.

And if you listen closely, beneath the rustling leaves and the tumbling waters, you can almost hear the whispers of pioneers, miners, and dreamers, their voices carried on the breath of Laurel Run, reminding us that Church Hill is not just a place, but a testament to the enduring spirit of a community.

History of Church Hill

Around 1750, people began settling in and around what is now known as Church Hill, Tennessee. In 1958, local leaders took the necessary steps to incorporate the town of “Church Hill”. Church Hill was named for First United Methodist Church or “the church on the hill” which remains on the hill on what is now Oak Drive near the intersection of North Central Avenue. Church Hill was formed that year under the City Manager form of government. In 1965 Church Hill switched to the Mayor-Aldermanic form of government. In 1994 the Town of Church Hill became the City of Church Hill.

Over the years, Church Hill has blossomed into a very desirable small city to live in. Low taxes, low crime rates and a high quality of life have people literally from all across the United States continuing to move here. The city has 30 full-time and 2 part-time employees, 5 parks (two with lighted baseball fields), a public swimming pool, 3 tennis courts, 6,000 Sguare foot fitness center, and senior center.

Church Hill is just far enough away from larger urban areas to be comfortable but close enough to be convenient. Our tax rate is .85 cents per $100 of assessed value. Church Hill’s estimated population is 7,000 and is the largest of the five cities in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

Laurel Run Park

Weather & Best Time to Visit

Due to its overall mild climate in summer and winter, There really is never a bad time to visit Church Hill, Tennessee; However, many people enjoy the beautiful spring burst of color across it’s landscape in April. Church Hill offers 3 of the best parks in the area – Laurel Run Park, Jaycee Park and Veterans Memorial Park.

Weather Forecast Every Month

Month High / Low(°F)Rain
January 46° / 26° 8 days
February 51° / 29° 7 days
March 61° / 36° 8 days
April 70° / 44° 8 days
May 77° / 53° 8 days
June 84° / 60° 8 days
July 87° / 64° 8 days
August 86° / 63° 6 days
September 81° / 57° 5 days
October 70° / 45° 5 days
November 59° / 36° 6 days
December 49° / 29° 7 days

Top Attractions of Church Hill

Church Hill Parks

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