Viola was originally founded in 1807 as Blue Springs Tennessee. Several years later in 1872 the United States Postmaster contacted the Blue Springs Postmaster to tell him Blue Springs already existed in east Tennessee and had seniority for the name. The postmaster gave the town the name of Viola after a heroine in the book he had currently been reading.
The town of Viola is home to the first World Grand Champion Walking Horse “Strolling Jim”. Strolling Jim won this in 1939. Strolling Jim was first discovered in Viola pulling a plow before his walking horse fame. “Midnight Sun” was sired on the Ramsey Farm near Viola and became World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse in 1945 and 1946.
In earlier days, one of the big operations in town was the Viola Flour Mill. The name brand for the flour and corn meal was Viola’s Best. The mill was in operation for a number of years before it burned down and then was passed from owner to owner. In early 1970 the mill and brand name was sold to Martha White. The area where the mill once stood is still occupied by grain bins on Highway 108 as you exit town.
Presently Viola is recognized as Tennessee’s smallest incorporated town governed by a mayor and board of alderman. Viola’s population is around 200 residents with an active post office, restaurant and bank. On the second weekend in August the Viola Homecoming takes place with parades, music and tractor pull.