Some comments by a reader have prompted me to say something about my recent absence. I have not been able to devote the time it takes to write these history posts as of late because my wife and I welcomed a baby into the world back in February. The little guy has completely captured my free time. Maybe one day I will be able to add the blog back into my juggling routine. Keep checking for updates.
If you have lived in Knoxville for any length of time, or if you've just eaten at the Downtown Grill and Brewery, then you have without a doubt heard of the "Million Dollar Fire of 1897." That fire destroyed much of the east side of the 300 and 400 blocks of Gay Street. Firefighters came from as far away as Chattanooga to battle the blaze, which threatened to burn down the entire city. With the ruins smoldering, city leaders declared it the greatest loss the city had ever suffered. However, times were optimistic and the business community vowed the next day to rebuild the structures better than before. Most of them were rebuilt, bigger and better, within five years. Fighting the fire of 1897. To the right, the Cowan McClung & Co. (now H.T. Hackney and The Market). Almost everything decimated. (Century Building at left, still standing) From the ashes of the fire, rose many of the iconic structures we see today on the 300 and 400 blocks. Identifying them b