Rockwood, Tennessee

Home of Thunder Road

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - July 13, 2012 - Local workers go back to work after eating lunch downtown on W. Rockwood Street.
photo Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - July 13, 2012 - This stately home is located in the 400 block of W. Rockwood Street.

Rockwood is a small city just a few stop lights off of I-40.

The community is home to Watts Bar Lake and has a reputation for home cooking. Rockwood got its start as a coal mining town after Union troops displaced the local Native American population.

Today, the town is known for a car festival called "Thunder Road," which showcases the best automobiles of the early 20th century. It's also the home of Hollywood starlet Megan Fox.

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ROCKWOOD’S FINESTThe city’s rich history includes a famous actress and a Cherokee village.> Population: 5,562> Biggest employers: Albahealth, Capstan Tennessee, Chase Instruments Corp.> Landmarks or geographic features: Rockwood stretches along Interstate 40 at the base of Walden’s Ridge and is hemmed in to the south by Watts Bar Lake.> Founded: 1868> History: Rockwood was once the location of a Cherokee village. After the Civil War, a Union general noticed deposits of iron. He purchased 728 acres of land and in 1868 constructed a furnace around which the town developed. The former headquarters of Cherokee leader Chief Tallentuskie was situated in a Cherokee village located in what is now Rockwood.> Famous residents: Actress Megan Fox (“Transformers”) and state legislator Harry T. Burn (1885-1977), who broke the deadlock on the 19th Amendment vote, giving women the right to vote in the U.S.> Unique tradition: Rockwood’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes features some residences in the Kingston Avenue Historic District, where many of the city’s first homes were built.> Unique characteristic: The town is named for W.O. Rockwood, first president of the then-newly formed Roane Iron Company, which also created a community church, commissary and school.Source:,

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YOU GOT IT, ANNIE’SAnnie’s Restaurant is a Rockwood favorite known for its tender, loving care. The large grilled shrimp is a local favorite, and so is the all-day breakfast and the Friday all-you-can-eat buffet.> It used to be known as “Junior’s Restaurant” until a change in ownership. But only a few things have changed on the menu, including the switch from a Friday prime rib to the evening buffet.> The restaurant specializes in hickory pit barbecue. The eatery has earned 12 awards, including “Best Home Cooking” in the Roane County News.Source: Annie’s Catering 865-354-2802

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WATER YOU WAITING FOR?Watts Bar Lake is an escape from the Tennessee sun.Drop anchor in Rockwood and enjoy an afternoon of fishing or a boat picnic on one of the largest lakes in the South. Those not fond of water can enjoy hiking, biking and camping around the area. Look out for the lake’s newly chosen mascot character, Louie Buoy, to promote the lake.Source:

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VINTAGE THUNDER“Thunder Road” showcases American motorized classic cars. > The festival brings American classic cars of the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s back onto the road in early April each year. Competition categories include “Best Moonshine Runner.”> Come one, come all: All cars and trucks are eligible to enter the show.> The festival was held April 4, 2015, and is slated for a similar date next year.Source: