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Showing posts from 2011

An interesting take on urban decay.

Evidently, artist Mike Doyle has taken to building replicas of deteriorating Victorian houses completely out of Legos. These things are really amazing. Take a look.

Christmas Past

Merry Christmas from Knoxville 1921 The Knoxville Community Christmas Tree, Market Street south of Union Ave. 1921

Requiem for old west Knoxville

I had heard about it, read about it in Property Scope , but I hadn't seen it myself until last night. One of the vestiges of a west Knoxville long forgotten except by those who grew up there from the 40's to the 60's (harder to find than you'd think), fell victim to the bulldozer. It's going to be a Chick-fil-a. The building was unloved, forgotten, and largely ignored by all of those BMW's and Escalades zipping by on the pike. It was the kind of place that polite society might want to pretend didn't exist next to the Starbucks and posh boutiques. It contained Opal's lounge, a sort of rowdy, blue collar place with impossibly cheap beer. There were rusting Oldsmobiles on jack stands and a tarped roof. You had to look pretty hard through the overgrown bush to see all of that, but it was there. I didn't think anyone else would notice, but I was wrong. Making my way through the impersonal, robotic, self-checkout lane at Kroger, I heard a woman of a certai

417 W. Clinch Avenue

Standing at the corner of Clinch Avenue and Gay Street, in the canyon between the Burwell Building and the Farragut Hotel, one is imbued with a feeling that Knoxville is indeed a city, a cosmopolitan place, civilization built and prospering. There is probably good reason for this, as both buildings were constructed during one of Knoxville's boom periods at the beginning of the 20th century. Across the street, one sees the towering Holston. Once the home of Holston National Bank and then Hamilton National Bank in Knoxville, it too was constructed during that era of growth and optimism. (For those who don't know, there was a near twin of our Holston in Chattanooga. It still stands, but a 1966 remodel rendered it almost unrecognizable). Finally, the forth corner of the intersection is capped by the Museum of East Tennessee History. The corner is a recent triumph achieved during the genesis of  a downtown renaissance. It seems that the early decades of a century are generally good


Well, today's post shall be short and sweet. I just received approval from the Knox County Public Library/McClung collection to utilize their photos for this blog. Now I can get this bird off the ground. If you are at all concerned about the fate of 710 and 712 Walnut Street, I urge you to visit Knoxville Urban Guy over at Stuck Inside of Knoxville (with the urban blues again). He has the links to all of the relevant articles. Next time I hope to hit you with my first content heavy post, but we'll have to see how events play out tomorrow at the CBID meeting tomorrow. Here's hoping for a good outcome for Knoxville's history and future!

Thank you Mr. Neely, but why do I feel like I am doing the time warp again?

       The headline came across the webpage for our local, alternative, news weekly like something from two decades ago. It was written by renowned, local author/historian Jack Neely. It made me feel like the case was already well known by the greater Knoxville community: "The Case for Saving Two Downtown Buildings." I'm sorry, what? Did I accidentally jump into my DeLorean and travel back to 1992 (astute readers will remember this as the year the Mann Funeral Home was destroyed)? How in the world could this headline exist on October 18, 2011? It was as if no historic buildings had been repurposed, as if no one lived in the Holston, as if the fundamental values of reusing and maintaining the structures of our past had never been embraced. It was like Knox Heritage never existed and Mary Temple Boyce was still fighting to keep Blount Mansion from becoming a pile of rubble. I could not believe my eyes, yet here we were again. Another entity, one with a history of tearing do