Before the name of Pittman Center emerged, the area was known as Emerts Cove, so named after its first settler, Fredrick Emert who arrived in 1784. Mr. Ermet was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and is buried in Emerts Cove. Life was in the slow lane during the 1800s, being cut off from the world due to rough topography and poor roads.
In 1919, a Methodist missionary preacher came through here and realized there was a great need for a center to provide education and health needs. That visionary minister was the Rev. Dr. John Sevier Burnett. When he presented his vision for such a center at the national meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1919, the group endorsed the mission and appointed Dr. Burnett to be superintendent for construction of needed buildings on a 1500-acre plot of land at the junction of Webbs Creek and the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River. School opened in 1920, with 100 in attendance. Dr. Burnett named the center after his good friend Rev. Eli Pittman who lived in upstate New York and who had a good connection of people who financed the construction of the campus named Pittman Community Center. The school, good will store, post office, medical clinic, farm, and orchards existed on the campus of Pittman Community Center but the name Pittman Center was assigned to each activity. While activities of the Center ceased as a missionary outpost, the name Pittman Center remained. Sevier County Board of Education purchased the school in 1955.
In 1974, when citizens applied for incorporation from the State of Tennessee, the name of Pittman Center was selected. Today, the town of Pittman Center is about six square miles with a population of 500.