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Changes - Broadway at Jackson

In an effort to provide something interesting between substantive blog posts, I've decided to start adding a "then and now" feature. These posts will focus on familiar landscapes in Knoxville that have undergone significant change over the decades. First up, I offer the intersection of Broadway and Jackson Ave.

Let's go left to right and count some differences:
1) The Knoxville Gas Company building is no longer there.
2) The Broadway viaduct now hides the train tracks below.
3) The AT&T building now completes the background.
4) The Southern Glass building now shores up the steep hill on the corner.
5) The Crane Co. building was long ago painted over with a Philco sign, probably the way most Knoxvillians know it.
6) If you could see through the Southern Glass building, every one of the tall buildings in the background of the 1920's picture is gone.
7) The Corner BP now occupies what was once the front yard of the Temple Beth-El.
What do you notice?


Andrea said…
I like your new "then and now" feature! Whatever happened to those big old buildings in the background?
They'll each be featured in upcoming posts, but suffice it to say they are all flat now with the exception of the 2 stories that comprise the former Regas restaurant.
Art Wagner said…
I love the then and now photos, particularly when they serve to show that more than just years separate what the two scenes depict. (and yes, modern camera lenses and color also are quite important to our perceptions).

Of real importance (that photos can only hint at) is how Knoxville's post 30s stagnation and post-WWII sprawl changed practically everything about the Knoxville that had once been a commercial and industrial center of the southern Appalachians. The diminishing importance of railroads alone had a huge effect on downtown. I assume your future posts will cover the Hotel Atkin (seen in the distance in the 20s photo) and its relationship to passenger rail in Knoxville. That's a bygone era that shouldn't be so bygone, in my opinion.
Cricket said…
Love the feature! Especially if it makes you update the blog more often. Such a great blog deserves more updates, but of course, yours are the most research-intensive thangs.

So, my favorite part is the lack of electrical lines in the new pic. Knoxville has messed up lots of things as it tries to grow, improve, and figure out how to grow & improve in the new millennium, but gosh, getting rid of electrical lines is such a basic thing. If we've figured that out, can't we figure out how to save the Baker-Walker-Sherrill house?

(Question: Am I prejudiced because I've known Bakers, Walkers, and Sherrills?)

In any case, I love the new feature! More! More, more, more!


I am an editor with The History Press, a publisher of local and regional history, I was hopping to recieve your contact info (email) in order to suggest a possible book project for the work you've been doing on this blog. You may reach me at and browse our website at

Thanks and I look forward to getting your contact info soon! Good work!

J. Banks Smither
Commissioning Editor
The History Press
Art Wagner said…
With the recent reminders of the rebuilding of the Broadway viaduct next year, I looked closer at your two photos, noticing some interesting details. In the 1920s photo, Jackson Ave. seems to slope quite definitely toward the Broadway intersection, something that it most certainly does not do today. A trick of photographic perspective or was the intersection raised to accommodate the viaduct? A substantial raising is my guess.

I understand something similar will take place with the new viaduct but at the northern end--the reason for extending it and taking the businesses at the intersection of Depot.
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for your wonderful blog ~ I just found you! Sooo many wonderful old pictures of Knoxville history ~ love them!

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