Prior to the 18th Century, the area which now makes up Kingsport was inhabited by Cherokee Native Americans. Sometime in the late 1700s, entrepreneur Wililam King established a boatyard along the Holston River at present day Kingsport. For a short period during the 1980s, the town was known as Franklin. In the early 1800s, the towns of Christianville and Rossville were established, and in 1822, they merged to form a town known as King's Port. In December 1864, a small battle of the Civil War was fought in the town. Kingsport as it is today began developing around 1910 with the arrival of its railroad which led to significantly increased business, visitors and residents in the region. In 1916, city planner of Massachusetts John Nolen designed the layout of Kingsport as it remains today.