The city has a total area of 3.8 square miles, all of it land. The city is situated atop the western Cumberland Plateau in a relatively broad area surrounded by rugged hills. Tennessee State Route 52 passes roughly west-to-east through the city, connecting it with Jamestown to the northwest and Rugby to the east. State Route 296 intersects State Route 52 near the center of Allardt, and continues directly westward to U.S. Route 127.
Colditz Cove State Natural Area, best known for the 60-foot Northrup Falls, lies just southeast of Allardt. The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area lies several miles to the northeast.
Every October the town hosts the Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-Off, which coincides with world-wide pumpkin weigh-off.
Jamestown was built upon the site of a semi-permanent Cherokee village, which probably made use of the many natural rock shelters in the area. Before the founding of Jamestown, the area was known as “Sand Springs” for the many bubbling springs located within the city. The last remaining spring is located in the Mark Twain City Park, just northeast of the county courthouse. This spring provided water to the family of John M. Clemens, father of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), before they moved to Missouri. John Clemens served as the first circuit court clerk. He also drew the plans for the first courthouse and jail.
During the American Civil War, Fentress County provided four companies for the Confederate Army and three for the Union Army. The notorious “Tinker” Dave Beaty formed his Union scout company in Fentress County to battle with the pro-Confederate guerrilla’s led by Champ Ferguson. Neither of these companies were ever mustered into the armies they supported.
World War 1 hero Sgt. Alvin. C. York was born, raised, and died in Fentress County. He built the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute, a high school in Jamestown. It is one of four state-funded schools in Tennessee.
Jamestown is the headquarters for the World’s Longest Yardsale, also known as the 127 Corridor Sale.
Clarkrange is also the site of Clarkrange High School, the only public high school operated by the county school district.
Clarkrange is named for Cyrus Clark, who operated an inn and cattle ranch in the community during the late 19th century. Prior to Clark’s arrival, the land had been used by local farmers as a free range area for cattle.
Clarkrange High School has claimed 8 state championship titles in Tennessee Class A Girls’ Basketball. The Clarkrange Lady Buffaloes won the title in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2004, and 2009.
The community was first settled in the 1840’s. Around 1881, Alwyn Maude, a Rugby colonist, established a post office in the community, and named it for his home village of Armathwaite in England. Oil drilling and logging activities took place in the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Early names for the community were Blue Rock and Gatewood. In the mid-19th century, the community was briefly home to a school known as the Van Buren Institute. Coal was mined in the area as early as the 19th century. In the early decades of the 20th century, the local economy was based on lumbering, barite ,mining, and farming. In the 1930s, the community supported a grade school with 84 pupils and 3 teachers, a high school, a weekly newspaper, and two churches.
The Forbus General Store was built by W. M. Johnson in 1892, and was operated by Johnson until his death in 1941. At one time, the store included a gas-powered gristmill, a blacksmith shop, and several granaries, but only the store stands today. The store purchased produce and furs from local residents, and at one point had a contract to supply locally-grown apples to a Pennsylvania brandy maker. The store in turn sold hardware, clothing, fertilizer and feed, school textbooks, guns, furniture, and caskets. The store’s top floor was once used as a meeting place for an Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodge. The Forbus post office operated out of the store until 1965, and consolidated with the Pall Mall post office in 1972.
In 1907, the Little Crab School was constructed. The school was also used for meetings for the Order of the Odd Fellows and their auxiliary, the Rebecca’s, who were very active in the community at the time the building was built.
The World War I hero Alvin C. York was raised in Pall Mall. Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated soldiers of the United States Army in World War I. He received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 35 machine guns, killing at least 28 German soldiers, and capturing 132 others. This action occurred during the United States-led portion of the broader Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France to breach the Hindenburg line and make the opposing German forces surrender. York is commemorated at the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall, which includes the family farmhouse and grist mill. York was laid to rest at Wolf River Cemetery in Pall Mall.