Old City and Beyond: Unfinished Business Business

Now, back to your regular programing. When last we left Knoxville for our little Dylan interlude, we were working our way down Jackson Avenue looking into some of the businesses there. Let’s finish that thought before we move on to others.

Interior of Blue Slip Winery, 105B West Jackson, Knoxville

Blue Slip Winery is nestled almost at the intersection of Jackson and Central at 105B West Jackson in the basement of the Hewgley Building. Whether wine is your thing or not, it’s a beautiful little cellar-level business with gifts of various sorts for the wine-lover in your life. The young man who told me about the business is the brother of the owner who’s helping out because his sister and her co-owner also work full-time jobs elsewhere while they work to build the business. It sounds like the next move will be to solicit restaurants to include the wine on their lists. The grapes are grown in Grainger County and the wine produced on site, so it is a very local business that could use your support.

111 E. Jackson, Old City, Knoxville, May 2011

Just down the street past the intersection that defines the Old City, a row of newly re-furbished office or retail spaces sit at 111 E. Jackson. Josh Flory gives more details here. Formerly the site of an antique market, the retail space on the street and the facade are very nice. It’s a real upgrade in appearance for that strip of Jackson and here’s hoping they have tenants, soon.

Knox Rail Salvage, Jackson Avenue, Knoxville

Once you pass Barley’s Taproom going east on Jackson, the area begins to feel a bit more dicey. Pedestrian traffic thins or disappears completely and a quiet, on the weekend at least, settles over the area under and just past James White Parkway that is unnerving. I find myself glancing over my shoulder and becoming keenly aware of any straggling passersby.

Graffiti on Fireproof Storage Building, Knoxville

Walking east on Jackson, Knox Rail Salvage, which I’ve always heard mentioned but never understood just where it might be, sits on the right. To the left is the Fireproof Storage Building with it’s noted graffiti project which I discussed here and later, with the help of photographer Caroline Carter, here. I honestly couldn’t tell any difference from months ago when I checked it out. If anything, it seemed like there was less to look at. I’m sure what’s there is more visible from the parkway. Maybe Caroline or another helpful reader can give us a better view or an update.

Lay’s Market, 622 East Jackson, Knoxville

Just beyond all this was the actual reason I began my Jackson Avenue hike: Lay’s Market at 622 East Jackson Avenue. I’d heard about it through an e-mail from Joey, a reader who invited me to drop by for a visit with friendly folks who have been in business for a hundred years. Unfortunately, it turns out I’m not downtown during their hours which don’t include evenings or weekends, so I missed the visit opportunity.

Interior of Lay’s Market, Jackson Avenue, Knoxville

I did, however, see enough through the window to realize that if you want your meat the old-fashioned way, it’s right there on Jackson Avenue. I suspect if you visit during the week you’ll find a lot more foot-traffic and a different feel.