Knox Heritage announced its 2010 list of the most endangered historic buildings and places in Knoxville and Knox County on May 14 at 11:00 a.m. The announcement took place in the Maplehurst Neighborhood on W. Hill Avenue.

Every May during National Preservation Month, Knox Heritage releases its list of the most endangered historic buildings and places in Knox County to educate the public and local leaders about the plight of significant historic resources. Often, the endangered buildings and places are representative of issues that endanger similar parts of our heritage across the community.

The historic places included on the list are selected by the Knox Heritage Board of Directors from nominations received from members of Knox Heritage and the general public. The list provides a work plan for the organization over the next 12 months. Preservation strategies are developed for each site on the list and can include working with current property owners, government officials, citizens and/or potential new owners to preserve these important parts of Knox County's heritage. Knox Heritage is committed to acting as an advocate for the endangered properties we identify each year. We invite the community to join us in our efforts to save our endangered heritage through advocacy and action. To volunteer, please contact Knox Heritage at 523-8008 or info@knoxheritage.org.

Knox Heritage advocates for the preservation of places and structures with historic or cultural significance. Founded in 1974, Knox Heritage is the non-profit historic preservation organization for Knoxville and Knox County. It is governed by a board of directors with representatives from across our community. Knox Heritage carries out its mission through a variety of programs and encourages community support through education and advocacy.

 

2010 Knox County's Most Endangered Historic Places

 

1. Knoxville High School - 101 E. Fifth Avenue.


2. Martin-Russell House - 11409 Kingston Pike.


3. Cowan Cottage - 701 16th Street.


4. The Eugenia Williams House - 4848 Lyons View Pike.


5. Knoxville College National Register District - 901 College Street.


6. Standard Knitting Mill -1400 Washington Avenue.


7. Cal Johnson Building - 301 State Street.


8. Fort Sanders Houses & Grocery - 307 18th Street & 1802, 1804, 1810 Highland Avenue.


9. The McClung Warehouses - 501-525 W. Jackson Avenue.


10. The Pickle Mansion - 1633 Clinch Avenue.


11. Isaac Anderson Cabin - Creekrock Lane - Shannondale Valley Farms


12. Scenic Vistas and Ridgetops.
          - Fort Stanley
          - French Broad River Corridor


13. Vacant Historic Knox County School Buildings:
          - Oakwood Elementary (232 E. Churchwell Avenue)
          - South High (801 Tipton Avenue)
          - Rule High (1901 Vermont Avenue)


14. Odd Fellows Cemetery - 2001 Bethel Avenue.


15. Admiral David Farragut Birthplace. Stoney Point.

 

Here's the latest on our efforts to rescue the Eugenia Williams House from demolition by neglect. We're sending out this press release statewide in the hopes of moving the proposal forward with the UT Board of Trustees.

 

Knoxville, TN - Knox Heritage has delivered a proposal to the University of Tennessee's interim president and Board of Trustees to protect the historic Eugenia Williams House in Knoxville from further deterioration. The proposal from the Knoxville-based non-profit preservation advocacy organization includes a three-year preservation plan based on National Park Service standards and up to $200,000 in funding from its J. Allen Smith Endangered Properties Fund to stabilize the residence, which was designed by John Fanz Staub and donated to the University by Coca-Cola heiress Eugenia Williams in 1998.

 

"We are aware of the financial challenges facing the University," said Kim Trent, executive director of Knox Heritage, "so we are offering to help the UT administration and the Trustees carry out their obligations to keep this State-owned property in good condition and repair."

 

Knox Heritage approached the University administration with an informal offer almost four months ago, after hearing the University had spent only $1,645 in the last fiscal year to maintain the 10,800 square foot Regency-style mansion - $1,439 for utilities and $206 to board up the windows. The University never responded to the initial offer, which led to submission of the formal offer to the Board of Trustees. Knox Heritage is now awaiting a response to its formal offer.

 

 

 

Williams House.jpg

 

The house has been included for two years on Knox Heritage's annual Fragile 15 list of the most endangered historic places in Knox County. Knox Heritage has attempted to work with two administrations at the University to insure the protection of the house and surrounding 24 acres as required of the University under the terms of Miss Williams' last will and testament. Miss Williams stipulated that the property by preserved in memory of her father, David Hitt Williams, that the land not be subdivided and that any use retain the natural beauty of the land and maintain the architectural integrity of the house in a way that benefits the University of Tennessee.

 

Since the University accepted the gift of property, the circa 1940 home has deteriorated significantly and been the target of vandalism. A fundraising campaign was initiated in 2000 to restore the home and use it as the residence for the president of the University of Tennessee. The funds raised for that effort were later redirected and used for the existing president's residence on Cherokee Boulevard while John Shumaker served as president of the University.

 

Knox Heritage and its consultants believe the University must act soon to save the house, after 12 years of demolition by neglect under University ownership. The proposal is for interim stabilization of the residence while the University determines an appropriate and affordable use, consistent with the wishes of its donor and the conditions of the gift.

 

"If the University can't use the property, it should find a way to put the property into private hands with appropriate restrictions to ensure the house and property are maintained as Miss Williams intended," Trent said. "We would be happy to support that effort."

 

 

 

John Fanz Staub (September 12, 1892 - April 13, 1981) was a nationally recognized residential architect who designed numerous traditionally-styled homes and mansions, mostly in Houston, Texas, from the 1920s to 1960s. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Staub received a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1916. Staub was noted for his ability to combine selected elements from historical styles into unique creations that expressed the architect's own sensibilities and the demands of his commissions. His houses are prized for their attention to detail and the thoughtful consideration given to site location. Staub's homes are generally large, though most eschew ostentation and instead reveal the architect's preference for understated elegance. Staub designed many homes in the prestigious Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. His most famous work is Bayou Bend, a mansion built in 1927 for a Houston oil heiress.

 

 

Staub also designed Hopecote on the University of Tennessee campus. Built in 1924, for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hope, it was inspired by 17th century English cottages. Staub was Mrs. Hope's nephew. After Mrs. Hope's death in 1977, the house was sold to the University of Tennessee. It was restored and now serves as an official guest house and instructional laboratory.

 

 

Knox Heritage, Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit corporation whose mission is to support and promote the preservation of historic buildings, neighborhoods and spaces within Knox County and the surrounding area. Knox Heritage was formed in 1974 as part of the effort to save the historic Bijou Theatre and other buildings in Knoxville, and it has taken an active role in many other historic preservation projects over the last 35 years.

 

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As you might suspect, preservation and politics are often linked. Whether it's historic zoning, financial incentives or ordinances that encourage redevelopment, preservationists spend a lot of time talking to politicians and government officials. Over the last decade or so Knoxville citizens and their City Council have grown to appreciate the benefits preservation has brought to downtown, historic neighborhoods and the overall tax base. It's been a cooperative period, but the number of new faces expected on City Council soon will impact the success of future efforts.

 

For that reason, Knox Heritage surveys candidates for political office so we can let our members and the public know where they stand on preservation issues. We've just published those responses on our website and invite you to read the responses. We hope you will consider them when you cast your vote.

Knox Heritage City Council Candidate Survey 

When I first started as a volunteer with Knox Heritage 15 years ago, I didn't know how preservation worked or why it worked. I just knew I loved old buildings, neighborhoods and downtowns and thought everyone should. It was instinctual. I'd been raised in Mobile and our residential historic districts are beautiful places. While I was growing up, the downtown was still mostly abandoned after 5 o'clock and on weekends, but that made it the perfect place for a teenager to wander around and soak up the architecture created during times when the Spanish, French and English flags flew over the 300-year-old city. I didn't know why it was all still standing and didn't even think to ask that question. It was there and it was gorgeous and it was the thing that defined my favorite hometown.

After spending time living in Tuscaloosa, Athens and Atlanta, I landed in Knoxville in 1991. I immediately fell in love with Market Square and tried unsuccessfully to live in what is now the home of Rita's. So, I began looking for a historic house in a neighborhood near downtown. I was surprised by how under appreciated the older parts of town were, but didn't mind that quite so much when it allowed me to purchase an 1893 house - which I later discovered was designed by George Barber - for around $50K in Parkridge. But as my personal restoration project progressed, my attention was drawn to the larger issue of Knoxville's historic core. I was sure we were on the verge of a turnaround for downtown and the neighborhoods around it - it only took about 13 years longer than I thought it would.

During those years I didn't know what I didn't know. I knew historic buildings, places and neighborhoods were important, but I didn't know how to prove that to people who doubted their value. I didn't understand how to do that until I found preservationists in other places who'd figured it out. Suddenly, I understood the breadth of what was possible and had access to the tools I needed to get it done. It was one of the most exciting periods of my life. It was made possible by the folks at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the many opportunities they gave me to meet people who shared my passion and who were putting preservation to work in new and creative ways.

After 18 years in East Tennessee, I've discovered most people have some sort of an instinct for preservation. Many of them are passionate about their heritage and the places that define them and their communities. Now all they need are the tools to make it all work - whether it be sparking new life on Main Street or preserving the rich landscapes that make this one of the most beautiful places in the world to live.

Once again the National Trust for Historic Preservation has provided an opportunity for East Tennesseans to learn the tools of the trade. Funding through their Partners in the Field program has allowed Knox Heritage to revive regional preservation efforts and jump start the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance. The Alliance will host a regional preservation conference this Friday and Saturday in Townsend and leading preservationists from across the country will be there to share what they know and how it can be applied in our region.

One of the most successful preservationists in the country and a dear friend of mine, Myrick Howard, will share how North Carolina has saved hundreds of endangered historic properties and Amy Potts with Preservation Kentucky will provide strategies for rural heritage preservation. Patrick McIntyre, director of the Tennessee Historical Commission, and Dr. Carroll Van West, director of MTSU's Center for Historic Preservation, will be on hand to share their wisdom and experience. Plus, Metro Pulse's own Jack Neely will speak at the Friday evening reception about Market Square's long-standing connection to the region.

The two-day conference is a rare opportunity to meet other preservationists from across the region and gain the knowledge needed to preserve the buildings and landscapes that define East Tennessee. And it's cheap - only 30 bucks for both days and that includes all conference sessions, the reception, lunch and more. So, visit East Tennessee Regional Preservation Conference for more information and a registration form.

 

East Knox County has survived as one the last places to see the rural history of our community. A drive out Washington Pike, beyond the sea of retail that has washed up around I-640, still provides scenic views of farmland and historic houses that have weathered the last century or more. In recent years though, the present began intruding in the form of subdivisions and strip centers. A cynic would proclaim the area is destined to suffer the same fate as the western part of the county. An optimist would be relieved to see a glimmer of hope just around the corner.

 IMG_1229.JPG

 In most cases these days the sight of freshly turned earth no longer signals the start of the planting season. Instead, it's usually the precursor of destruction and that's what I thought a while back as I passed through the intersection of Washington Pike and Murphy Road. The front yard of the beautiful old farmhouse I always admired had been transformed by a backhoe and construction equipment was visible. The new gas station, houses and proposed retail sprawl nearby caused me to assume the activity on the northeast corner was the next domino to fall on the way out toward the Ritta community and House Mountain. I was thrilled when I found out I was wrong.

 Murphy House.jpg

 The Murphy family, originally from Virginia, first settled on the 180-acre-farm in 1797. The Gothic style farmhouse has stood since about 1841, but remained mostly empty for the last decade - expect for the annual family reunions that brought the Murphy clan back to the home place. The farm is like a snapshot of a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. The old spring house is still in place - right next to the smokehouse - and the old windows still frame views of woods and fields.

 Thumbnail image for Spring House & Smokehouse.jpg

 

Room with a View.jpg

The family's connection to the house and the land has endured, but the Murphy Farm has only recently found the person determined to restore it and protect it for at least a few more generations. That person is Kevin Murphy and he's come home from Florida with a determination to do the job right.

Mary Boyce Temple House.jpg 

 

The Mary Boyce Temple House stands like a sentinel on Hill Avenue at the northern end of the Henley Bridge. During the second half of the 20th century its original grandeur slowly faded and most Knoxvillians only remember it as a shabby apartment building or an abandoned building occupied by the homeless. Built in 1907, the Queen Style structure has endured an odyssey that would have destroyed most houses. Instead, it was saved from the brink of destruction by a mayor, many preservationists, a hotel developer and one very dedicated architect. It is a fitting outcome for the former home of one of Knoxville's first preservationists.

In January of 2005, it looked like six historic buildings in the 500 block of Gay Street, located between the Farragut Building to the south and the Fidelity Bank Building to the north, would be lost. They would be replaced by a sprawling new multi-screen cinema complex that government and business leaders hoped would be the missing link for downtown Knoxville's rebirth. It seemed that many Knoxvillians were ready to sacrifice the buildings for that ever-elusive thing known as "progress." That same month the Knox Heritage Board of Directors gathered and voted to oppose the demolition of the iconic structures, including the S&W Cafeteria Building, the Athletic House, the former WROL studios, the Walgreen's Building and the Gaut Ogden Stationers Building.

One phone call transformed that looming battle into a cooperative effort between Knox Heritage and the City of Knoxville. That call between Knox Heritage Board President Finbarr Saunders and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam was the first step in pulling the 500 block of Gay Street back from the brink. For more than two decades most of the buildings had stood vacant as multiple redevelopment plans fell through. They dodged bullet after bullet - a Knox County government plan to demolish them for a new downtown justice center and jail; demolition for a City of Knoxville transit center combined with a theater multiplex; and general neglect that resulted in collapsed roofs and crumbling facades. 

As Mayor Haslam waited in an airport for a plane that day in January, he and now County Commissioner Saunders agreed to take a second look at the project and see if a compromise could be found. The final agreement they reached allowed 45 days for Knox Heritage to propose an alternative design that would preserve as much of the historic fabric as possible while meeting the goals of the city and the needs of Regal Entertainment Group.

That effort, begun more than four years ago, laid the groundwork for the construction of the new Regal Riviera and the preservation of some of Knoxville's most beloved historic buildings. Downtown now has its successful movie theatre and, thanks to the local development team of John Craig, Mike Hatcher, Tim Hill and Dane Baker, it will also have its historic buildings filled with the S&W Grand Cafe, Coolato Gelato, professional offices and retail space - all in the same space once set aside for the new cinema alone. The attention to detail in the restorations is rare and will surely be appreciated once they are unveiled. The first business, Coolato Gelato, will open within the week, many of the offices will be filled in the coming month and the S&W Grand Cafe is scheduled to open its doors in September. It's a success story few expected in the winter of 2005.

All historic photos courtesy of the McClung Collection - Knox County Public Library.

 

500 Block of Gay Street Looking North - June 2009

500 Block Buildings - June 2009.jpg 

 

500 Block of Gay Street Looking North - 1925 

Looking north on Gay from Clinch. [1925].jpg 

This photo from the McClung Collection shows the Farragut Building in the far right corner. The next building advertises Electro-Turkish Baths and was built in the alley that once led to the circa 1830 Crozier Mansion. The next two buildings to the north are what we know today as the WROL / Central House Hotel Building and the Athletic House / Knaffl Brothers Building. The next two buildings to the north were combined and given a new facade to create the S&W Cafeteria in 1937. The Gaut Ogden Stationers Building stood between the S&W and the original Riviera Theatre, but could not be saved after decades of neglect. The Walgreen's Building just south of the Fidelity Bank Building met the same fate.

 

The S&W Building - 1937

July 22, 1937  S&W ext. at night.jpg  

 

The S&W Building - June 2009

S&W Building.jpg

The Art Deco style exterior of the building retains most of its historic materials, unlike the interior which was largely destroyed by decades of neglect. The building will be the home of the S&W Grand Cafe that is scheduled to open in September.

 

Every May during National Preservation Month, Knox Heritage releases its list of the most endangered historic buildings and places in Knox County to educate the public and local leaders about the plight of significant historic resources. Often, the endangered buildings and places are representative of issues that endanger similar parts of our heritage across the community.

 

The historic places included on the list are selected by the Knox Heritage Board of Directors from nominations received from members of Knox Heritage and the general public. The list provides a work plan for the organization over the next 12 months. Preservation strategies are developed for each site on the list and can include working with current property owners, government officials, citizens and/or potential new owners to preserve these important parts of Knox County's heritage. Knox Heritage is committed to acting as an advocate for the endangered properties we identify each year. We invite the community to join us in our efforts to save our endangered heritage through advocacy and action. To volunteer, please contact Knox Heritage at 523-8008 or info@knoxheritage.org.

 

Knox Heritage advocates for the preservation of places and structures with historic or cultural significance. Founded in 1974, Knox Heritage is the non-profit historic preservation organization for Knoxville and Knox County. It is governed by a board of directors with representatives from across our community. Knox Heritage carries out its mission through a variety of programs and encourages community support through education and advocacy.

2009

Knox County's Most Endangered Historic Places

 

1.          Standard Knitting Mill -1400 Washington Avenue.

2.         The Eugenia Williams House - 4848 Lyons View Pike.

3.         Historic Park City.

4.         Scenic Vistas and Ridgetops.

5.         Vacant Historic Knox County School Buildings:

·            Oakwood Elementary (232 E. Churchwell Avenue)

·            South High (801 Tipton Avenue)

·            Eastport Elementary (2036 Bethel Avenue)

·            Flenniken Elementary (115 Flenniken Avenue)

·            Rule High (1901 Vermont Avenue)

6.         Park City Presbyterian Church - 2204 Linden Avenue.

7.         Cal Johnson Building - 301 State Street.

8.        Odd Fellows Cemetery - 2001 Bethel Avenue.

9.         The McClung Warehouses - 501-525 W. Jackson Avenue.

10.     Fort Sanders Houses & Grocery - 307 18th Street & 1802, 1804, 1810 Highland Avenue.

11.      Knoxville College National Register District - 901 College Street.

12.     French Broad River Corridor.

13.     The Pickle Mansion - 1633 Clinch Avenue.

14.     Maplehurst Neighborhood.

15.      Edelmar - 3624 Topside Road.

 

10.   Fort Sanders Houses & Grocery - 307 18th Street & 1802, 1804, 1810 Highland Avenue.

These historic structures on the southwest corner of the 1800 block of Highland Avenue comprise one of the few remaining dividing lines between the concentration of residential and medical uses in the Historic Fort Sanders Neighborhood. They all were purchased by Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in February of 2008. The residential structures are now surrounded by barbed-wire-topped chain link fencing and the 18th Street IGA's continued operation is in doubt. The fate of all four buildings is uncertain.

A recent revival of long range neighborhood planning efforts requested by neighborhood residents and facilitated by the City of Knoxville, is a step in the right direction. All the stakeholders are at the table and there is an opportunity to turn the Fort around for the benefit of all.

Any long range planning should promote preservation of the historic structures that have managed to dodge the wrecking ball over the last 50 years. These four properties offer the opportunity for a new era of cooperation between Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and neighborhood residents. The newly formed, resident-led Fort Sanders Community Development Corporation is the perfect vehicle for a solution. The hospital should partner with residents to preserve the buildings or donate them to the Fort Sanders CDC if it has no plans to preserve them. The group's mission will guide its efforts to retain the neighborhood grocery while restoring the residential properties for single family occupancy. That outcome would further stabilize the neighborhood, as opposed to the permanent damage that will result from the demolition these four highly visible historic buildings.

307 18th Street

 

307 18th Street.jpgThis Commercial Vernacular style building was constructed circa 1923 as the W.T. Roberts Grocery Store, but over the years Fort Sanders' residents have known it as the 18th Street IGA.  Roberts owned and operated the store from 1923 until 1950. During that time he had a short commute from his home at 1802 Highland Avenue just around the corner. In 1950 the store became the Fred McMahan Grocery Store and the owner had an even shorter commute. He lived on the second floor of the building.

 

1802 Highland Avenue

 

1802 Highland Avenue.jpgThis Victorian style house was built circa 1891 for Ranson D. Whittle who was a well known manufacturer and founder of the Whittle Trunk and Bag Company.  Whittle was also a prominent member of the family for which the Whittle Springs community in North Knoxville is named. From 1914 until 1950 William T. Roberts, owner of the neighborhood grocery store around the corner, lived in the house.

 

 

1804 Highland Avenue

 

Thumbnail image for 1804 Highland Avenue.jpg 

 

 

This Victorian Cottage was built circa 1898 and the first owner was Reverend Isaac Van Dewater.

 

 

1810 Highland Avenue

 

 

Thumbnail image for 1810 Highland Avenue.jpg 

This Victorian style home was built circa 1895 for Dr. Henry Patton Coile, a prominent turn of the century surgeon and physician.  Coile lived in the house from 1895 until 1900.  In 1900 his son Samuel A. Coile, the first pastor at Fort Sanders Presbyterian Church, became the owner of the family home. It shares many architectural features with homes designed by George Barber and could be the work of Knoxville's most famous Victorian-era architect.

 

11.        Knoxville College National Register District - 901 College Street.

Elnathan Hall.jpgKnoxville College was founded in 1875 as part of the missionary effort of the United Presbyterian Church of North America to promote religious, moral and educational leadership among freed men and women. The National Register District is composed of 10 buildings, eight of which are contributing, and two which are non-contributing.  Knoxville College has significantly contributed to the educational and spiritual welfare of the African American population in Tennessee since 1875, particularly in the fields of industrial and normal education.

The buildings at Knoxville College are a tribute to the creativity and resourcefulness of the student body. While pursuing their education, students designed and constructed these historic buildings using bricks they manufactured at the campus. This spirit of involvement continues today, even as Knoxville College struggles to continue its mission. The historic buildings, with their fine craftsmanship and solid design, are deserving of support from the entire community and their preservation is a critical part of the rebirth of the college. Knox Heritage and its members stand ready to assist the college in its efforts to preserve its architectural heritage and encourage Knox County residents and their elected representatives to support the college's efforts.

12.         French Broad River Corridor.

French Broad River Corridor.jpgThe French Broad River was one of the earliest settlement paths in Knox County.   By the mid 1780s, early homes and industries were located on both sides of the river.  It was the settlers' highway; ferries crossed it linking communities on both of its banks.  Francis Alexander Ramsey settled in this corridor and the stone Ramsey House still stands today. There is evidence to suggest that James White built his first house in the area. In The Annals of Tennessee by Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey, the French Broad Corridor is described as the home of Alexander Campbell; the large Georgian style house he built still stands. On both sides of the French Broad some of the best architectural examples of early Knox County - pre-historic settlements, a mill, churches and early cemeteries and ferry landings - tell the story of a river that acted as a highway for commerce and social interaction. The French Broad River corridor, because of its relative isolation and lack of urban infrastructure, retained its historic places, scenery, breathtaking views and vistas and it is a portrait of Knox County in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Knox County Commission's approval of rezonings that allow industrial and commercial development at the Midway Road interchange with I-40, combined with increasing development pressure from Sevier County, threaten the survival of one of Knox County's signature places. We call on Knox County government leaders to act with haste to develop innovative measures that protect this endangered treasure in east Knox County from being destroyed by the rampant development looming on the horizon.

13.        The Pickle Mansion.  - 1633 Clinch Avenue.  

 

The Pickle Mansion.jpgThe Pickle Mansion was built in 1889 in the Queen Anne style.  It was built of solid masonry construction with a brick veneer wall covering on that masonry.  Typical of grand houses of the Queen Anne era, it boasted a hip roof with lower cross gables, a turret, elaborate attic vent windows, window arches, transoms and a large front and side wrap around porch.

The house was burned in a disastrous fire that occurred in August of 2002, and suffered extensive damage.  The current owner was able to purchase the house from its previous owners, who were denied in their request to demolish the building. After the purchase the current owner navigated an extensive and necessary subdivision process and took steps to finance the restoration. Fire debris has been removed and roof trusses have been designed with the intent of completing a rehabilitation of the house and restoring its architectural presence on Clinch Avenue.  However, although interior work to prevent additional deterioration has been completed, the house is still unroofed. Rehabilitation work has begun, but the slow pace of that work leaves the house in a precarious position.

Knox Heritage encourages the owner to move swiftly to get the house under roof and begin the long-awaited restoration of this Fort Sanders Neighborhood landmark.

 

14.        The Maplehurst Neighborhood.

 

Maplehurst.jpgMaplehurst was developed in its present form in the early twentieth century, and contains Mission, Tudor Revival, Craftsman, Bungalow and Spanish Colonial Revival buildings that were popular architectural styles of that era.  Maplehurst was first the site of an earlier residence known as Maplehurst, from which the area took its name, and is typical of residential areas developed near downtown.  The buildings have furnished rental housing for downtown workers, students, and others over the years; many are now in poor condition, and threatened by neglect.

The area has become known as an enclave for local artists and musicians who enjoy the location surrounded by downtown, the river and the university. Most of the buildings were purchased by Atlanta-based Gameday, a developer of luxury sports condominiums, several years ago. Since that time promised plans for the restoration of the buildings have not come to fruition and a split between the firm's partners has left the future of their properties in limbo. They are now owned by Mountain River Associates.

The lack of maintenance and a riverfront location increase the potential peril for the well-loved neighborhood. Knox Heritage calls upon the owners to bring the vacant and deteriorating buildings up to code and improve the general conditions of the historic buildings they own in order to protect the buildings and the residents who live in and around them.

15.    Edelmar - 3624 Topside Road.

Edelmar.jpgThis house built in 1914 was the summer home of prominent Knoxvillian C.B. Atkin. It is named after Atkin's three daughters - Edith, Eleanor and Marion. Atkin was an important figure in Knoxville's history, the proprietor of several businesses, including the Fountain City Railway Company. He founded a furniture company that crafted furnishings for some of Knoxville's finest homes, and a business that manufactured fireplace mantles for elegant mansions nationwide. Atkin developed a large portion of Knoxville's Oakwood and Fountain City suburbs, and built two hotels and two theatres in downtown Knoxville.

The 30-acre-estate overlooking the Little River portion of Lake Loudon was subdivided into smaller lots and auctioned to the highest bidder. The new owner had requested a rezoning in order to develop the site but later withdrew the application. The MPC staff report, prepared in conjunction with the proposed rezoning of this property, called for historic zoning (HZ) to be placed on the 6600 square foot Atkin family home known as Edelmar and the surrounding parcel in order to guarantee preservation of this significant building.

Knox Heritage encourages the current owners to secure the house against vandalism and arson while they are planning for the future of the site. We also recommend the house be protected with historic zoning as part of any development plan for the larger site.

 

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Next week a renewed regional preservation effort will formally take hold when preservationists gather for a meeting in downtown Knoxville. Over 70 people showed up for the last gathering of citizens from across the region that was held in late January. As that meeting began, they learned Cormac McCarthy's childhood home was burning in South Knoxville. It was a tragic reminder of why the success of their efforts is so important.

The Nine Counties Preservation Alliance will meet on April 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the East Tennessee History Center to elect a board of directors and begin planning a regional preservation conference scheduled for September 18 and 19 of this year.

It's an effort that began almost nine years ago and is finally reaching a goal envisioned then by citizens across the region: Create an adequately staffed and funded regional historic preservation organization (the Preservation Alliance) to facilitate the preservation and reuse of historic structures and encourage heritage-sensitive development.

Back in 2000, when the Nine Counties. One Vision. planners took on the task of helping all of us think regionally, I had no idea historic preservation would turn out to be a priority for people across the region. It ranked right up there with Downtown Knoxville, transportation, economic development and other issues of obvious interest to East Tennesseans.

We met with people across the region and helped form the Nine Counties Preservation Alliance with representatives from Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union Counties. The Alliance met regularly and produced regional preservation conferences in Dandridge and Maryville with support from Knox Heritage staff. However, Knox Heritage's tiny staff was soon overwhelmed by the workload in Knox County and unable to provide the same level of support for the Alliance. It went dormant for a couple of years even though the needs in the nine county region did not diminish.

Last year Knox Heritage applied for and secured a three year Partners in the Field grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust. It allowed us to hire a full-time staff person to provide preservation field services throughout the region. We hired Knoxville native Ethiel Garlington and he has been reconnecting the network of preservationists and interested citizens across the region over the last five months. The first step is reorganizing the Nine Counties Preservation Alliance, but he has a long list of work ahead of him, including providing:

- technical assistance for the Nine County Preservation Alliance to create a strategic plan that will increase the effectiveness of its advocacy efforts.

- techincal assistance for existing preservation organizations in order to make them more effective advocates and increase the level of services they provide in their communities.

- technical assistance for homeowners and developers of commercial and residential real estate.

- organizing activities in counties without a preservation organization in order to engage interested individuals and organizations in the creation of a preservation organization.

- an annual, regional preservation conference to provide educational and networking opportunities for interested residents, government officals and organizations.

- regular workshops in all nine counties to provide information on preservation tools and incentives.

- one-on-one assistance for local governments and officials interested in increasing preservation efforts in their communities.

- National Register nominations for strategic eligible properties.

- creation of publications and expansion of the Knox Heritage website in order to provide information and resources throughout the nine county region.

So, come on down and help preserve the best parts of our region. The meeting is open to anyone interested in joining our efforts. For more information, call Ethiel at (865) 523-8008 or send an email to  egarlington@knoxheritage.org.

Recent Assets

  • The Pickle Mansion - 1633 Clinch Avenue.JPG
  • The McClung Warehouses - 501-525 W. Jackson Avenue.JPG
  • The Cal Johnson Building - 301 State Street.JPG
  • Standard Knitting Mill - 1400 Washington Avenue.JPG
  • South High - 801 Tipton Avenue.JPG
  • Rule High - 1901 Vermont Avenue.JPG
  • Odd Fellows Cemetery 1 - 2001 Bethel Avenue.JPG
  • Oakwood Elementary - 232 E. Churchwell Avenue.JPG
  • Isaac Anderson - no adddress - sits behind 4709 Creekrock La.JPG
  • Ft. Sanders Houses - 1810 Highland Avenue.JPG

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