COTTAGE GROVE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There are several tight-knit, rural communities spread across Tennessee, but according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, none are as small as a city found in the western part of the state.
Located just about 20 minutes outside of Paris in Henry County, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 2022, only 66 people lived in the state’s smallest city, Cottage Grove.
The entire city only encompasses about 0.2 square miles, with the historic Cottage Grove School, which has been vacant for a few years, and the Cottage Grove Cemetery being some of the easiest places to spot on Google Maps.
A church, park, post office, volunteer fire department, general store and small number of homes can also be found amid the six streets that run through the area. While the city is more sparse now, Cottage Grove reportedly flourished in its early years.
According to Paris’ local newspaper, the Paris Post-Intelligencer, Cottage Grove was settled in the 1820s by the Killebrew and Kennedy families, who came from North Carolina. Soon there were multiple general stores, mills, and even several doctors in the area.
First named Todd Town, the name was later changed to Cottage Grove when the postal service came to the area in 1864 and there was already a Todd Town in the postal system.
Cottage Grove was also one of the first cities in Tennessee to create a volunteer fire department in 1975, the Paris Post-Intelligencer reported. Before that, residents had to wait on firefighters traveling all the way from Paris during emergencies.
By the time Cottage Grove was incorporated into a city in 1909, the population was around 215 people. That number dropped to an estimated 85 residents by 1990. Today, U.S. Census Bureau data indicates there are only a little more than two dozen households in the area.
The median age of Cottage Grove residents is 44 years old, with the majority being married couples. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income is around $44,375, and about 19.7% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Workers typically have a commute of around 39.5 minutes to work, with many likely heading to Paris, or other neighboring cities.
Other cities that are among some of the state’s smallest include Hickory Valley, Viola and Salusbury, which in 2022, had estimated populations ranging between 80 and 112 people.
In comparison, the Nashville-Davidson Metro area had the largest population in the state last year, with 683,622 residents. Memphis was the second largest city with a population of around 621,056 people.