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Rocky Top (formerly Coal Creek and Lake City) is a city in Anderson and Campbell counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, northwest of Knoxville. The population was 1,781 at the 2010 census. Most of the community is in Anderson County and is included in the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area. On June 26, 2014, the city officially changed its name from Lake City to Rocky Top, after a last-ditch effort by the copyright owners of the song "Rocky Top" was denied by a federal court.
The town was originally named Coal Creek when it was founded in the early 19th century, after the 1798 Treaty of Tellico opened the area to settlement, taking its name from the stream that runs through the town. Coal Creek and the nearby town of Briceville were the sites of a major lockout of coal miners in 1891, which resulted in the town of Coal Creek being occupied by the state militia for over a year after miners attempted to force an end to the use of unpaid convict labor in the mines. This labor struggle, known as the Coal Creek War, was eventually resolved in the coal miners' favor with the abolition of Tennessee's convict labor program. The Fraterville Mine disaster of 1902 occurred nearby, in the village of Fraterville.
The town adopted the name "Lake City" in 1936 after the Tennessee Valley Authority's completion of nearby Norris Dam formed an artificial lake, Norris Lake. Some area residents, including the nonprofit Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, urged a return to the old name of "Coal Creek" to commemorate the community's heritage.
In 2013, a business group proposed to establish a theme park in the city if the city name was changed to "Rocky Top" to take advantage of the song of that name. On November 7, 2013, Lake City's city council voted to ask the Tennessee General Assembly to amend the city charter to adopt the proposed name.
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