Rocky Top Vote Goes Ahead As Legal Challenge Continues

Jun 26, 2014


Leaders in the Anderson County town of Lake City plan to go ahead with a vote to change city's name on Thursday, even as a challenge seeking to block that move heads toward appeal.

If adopted, Lake City's new name would be "Rocky Top." Backers say the change would give the town greater visibility, and a developer has promised to construct a water park in the city, contingent on the name change.

But House of Bryant LLC is trying to erect a roadblock to that plan. The group owns the copyright of the song "Rocky Top," written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967. House of Bryant hopes a court will stop the name change in Lake City because it says re-naming the town would hurt the value of House of Bryant's trademarks.

That argument was rejected earlier this week by federal Judge Tom Varlan. He refused to issue an order that would have blocked the name change. House of Bryant is appealing Varlan's decision.

If the legal challenge fails and the town is allowed to change its name, it wouldn't be the first time Lake City gained a new moniker for economic purposes. The name "Lake City" was adopted in 1936 to underscore the town's proximity to the then-new Norris Lake project. Its original name was Coal Creek.