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ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Probably from Indian name Tenase, which was the principal village of the Cherokee. NICKNAME: The Volunteer State. CAPITAL: Nashville. ENTERED UNION: 1 June 1796 (16th). SONGS: "When It's Iris Time in Tennessee," "The Tennessee Waltz," "My Homeland, Tennessee," "Rocky Top," and "My Tennessee." POEM: "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee." FOLK DANCE: Square dance. MOTTO: Agriculture and Commerce. FLAG: On a crimson field separated by a white border from a blue bar at the fly, three white stars on a blue circle edged in white represent the state's three main general divisions—East, Middle, and West Tennessee. OFFICIAL SEAL: The upper half consists of the word "Agriculture," a plow, a sheaf of wheat, a cotton plant, and the roman numeral XVI, signifying the order of entry into the Union; the lower half comprises the word "Commerce" and a boat. The words "The Great Seal of the State of Tennessee 1796" surround the whole. The date commemorates the passage of the state constitution. WILD ANIMAL: Raccoon. BIRD: Mockingbird. AMPHIBIAN: Tennessee cave salamander. REPTILE: Box turtle. INSECTS: Ladybug, firefly, and honeybee. CULTIVATED FLOWER: Iris. WILD FLOWER: Passion flower. TREE: Tulip poplar. GEM: Freshwater pearl. ROCKS: Limestone, agate. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Good Friday, March or April; Decoration Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; primary and county elections, 1st Thursday in August in even-numbered years; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; General Election Day, 1st Tuesday after 1st Monday in November in even-numbered years; Veterans Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December. TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT; 6 AM CST = noon GMT.
Generally, Tennessee has a temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. However, the state's varied topography leads to a wide range of climatic conditions.
The warmest parts of the state, with the longest growing season, are the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Central Basin, and the Sequatchie Valley. In the Memphis area in the southwest, the average date of the last killing frost is 20 March, and the growing season is about 235 days. Memphis has an annual mean temperature of 62°F (17°C), 40°F (4°C) in January, and 83°F (28°C) in July. In the Nashville area, the growing season lasts about 225 days. Nashville has an annual mean of 59°F (15°C), ranging from 36°F (2°C) in January to 79°F (26°C) in July. The Knoxville area has a growing season of 220 days. The city's annual mean temperature is 60°F (16°C), with averages of 41°F (5°C) in January and 78°F (26°C) in July. In some parts of the mountainous east, where the temperatures are considerably lower, the growing season is as short as 130 days. The record high temperature for the state is 113°F (45°C), set at Perryville on 9 August 1930; the record low, –32°F (–36°C), was registered at Mountain City on 30 December 1917
Tennessee ranked 16th in population in the US with an estimated total of 5,797,290 in 2002, an increase of 1.9% since 2000.
Forests covered 14,396,000 acres (5,826,000 hectares) in 2002, or more than 50% of the state's total land area. Commercial timberlands in 2002 totaled 13,956,000 acres (5,648,000 hectares). In 2002, 86% of the forested area was privately owned, 10% federally owned, 3% state-owned, and 1% municipally owned. The counties of the Cumberland Plateau and Highland Rim are the major sources of timber products, and in Lewis, Perry, Polk, Scott, Sequatchie, Unicoi, and Wayne counties, more than 75% of the total area is commercial forest.
About 95% of Tennessee's timber is in hardwoods, and nearly one-half of that is in white and red oak. Of the softwoods, pine—shortleaf, loblolly, Virginia, pitch, and white—accounts for 80%. Red cedar accounts for about 5% of the softwood supply. Total lumber production in 2002 was 899 million board feet.
Wood products manufacturing is among the state's largest basic industries. The wood products industry in Tennessee falls into three main categories: paper and similar products, lumber and similar products, and furniture. Manufacturing uses only about a third of the wood grown by forests in Tennessee each year. The remaining two-thirds continues to accumulate on aging trees or is lost through decomposition of diseased and dead trees. The most common method of cutting timber in Tennessee has long been "high-grading," that is, cutting only the most valuable trees and leaving those of inferior quality and value. Clearcutting, patch cutting, and group selection are silviculturally preferable, but, with the exception of clearcutting on industry lands, are rarely practiced.
In 2002, there were an estimated 2,519,825 housing units in the state, 2,257,080 of which were occupied; 69.2% were owneroccupied. About 68.5% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Electricity and utility gas were the most common energy sources for heating. It was estimated that 82,457 units lacked telephone service, 11,715 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 11,301 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household size was 2.5 people.
In 2002, 34,273 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $106,070. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $962. Renters paid a median of $537 per month. During 2002, Tennessee received more than $97 million in community planning and development aid from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Tennessee has two major league professional sports teams, the National Football League's Titans, who relocated to Nashville from Houston before the 1997 season, and the NHL's Nashville Predators, who began play in 1999. Minor league baseball teams play throughout the state including Chattanooga, Memphis, Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport, Lynchburg, and Nashville.
Tennessee's colleges and universities provide the major fall and winter sports. The University of Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt University Commodores, in the Southeastern Conference, compete nationally in football, basketball, and baseball. Austin Peay and Tennessee Technological universities belong to the Ohio Valley Conference. The University of Tennessee won the Sugar Bowl in 1943, 1971, 1986, and 1991, the Fiesta Bowl in 1999, and the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1996 and 1997. The Volunteers were named national champions in 1951 and then again in 1999. The University of Tennessee's women's basketball team, the Lady Vols, won NCAA titles in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, and 1998. They have won more games than any other NCAA basketball team in the country. Other annual sporting events include the Iroquois steeplechase in Nashville in May and two NASCAR races at the Bristol Motor Speedway, one in March and one in August. Basketball Hall of Fame member Oscar Robertson and track and field legend Wilma Rudolph were both born and raised in Tennessee.
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