The second installment of the stroll through the 2012 City People Downtown Home Tour includes another very divergent pair: A home built in 1786 and homes built nearby two hundred years later. The first, a log cabin built by James White, the founder of Knoxville, originally sat where the State Street Garage is located today. Miraculously saved, it was moved to its present location. Riverside is a modern condo development located just across Hill Street from the fort and overlooking the Tennessee River with a view toward the Smoky Mountains.
Sam Maynard, director of James White Fort, greeted visitors and enthusiastically told about the home, the fort and coming events. The Heart Scares Ball featuring food, music by the Chillbillies, a costume contest, a silent auction and more on October 26 is likely to sell out. For a more affordable historical scare, the Hearth Scares Tour is $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for children to age fifteen. There are six dates to choose from beginning tomorrow night (October 18) for this walking ghost-tour of downtown.
The buildings themselves reflect the genesis of life in what would become Knoxville. Various out-buildings and a crude stockade form a fort similar to the one John White would have built. The original cabin itself is an attractive two-story home with beds above and living space below. Period art, artifacts and other elements of daily life are present. In a different kind of way than the Glencoe, I could see myself living here, as well (given the heat and air that has been so discreetly added).
The kitchen constituted its own separate building, as was common for centuries, and Urban Woman liked the chicken roost in one corner of the room which would make finding eggs and, well, fresh chicken pretty easy when they were called for. I always like the wood fire smell, though I suspect it would have less appeal if it permeated everything I own.
The whole place represents an awesome asset to downtown Knoxville and what somehow feels like an under-utilized tourist attraction. That may be an ignorant opinion based on a lack of knowledge, but it seems that and the Blount Mansion and the several other period homes could be promoted more widely, somehow. Together they seem like enough of a draw for the history-loving vacationer to me.
Across the street and up a few steps we entered Zibbie’s home at Riverside. A gated community on the bluff overlooking the river, the development was completed in the 1980’s and we learned that some are for sale, if this is the kind of living you prefer. It’s set apart a bit from downtown, which might appeal to some and not so much to others, but without question, the views of the river and the mountains off the back are the primary draw.
The home we toured includes three bedrooms, though not all are currently used as such. Other units in the development have two bedrooms and square-footage varies a bit, as well. Zibbie’s home is around 1700 feet and also includes an attached garage. The space is arranged in such a fashion, with small sitting areas and a loft, as well as the bedrooms and two bathrooms, that we were quite surprised there wasn’t more.
The deck on the back is spacious and offered a view of the mountains and the river and, of course, everyone’s favorite sight: Holston Gas. I could learn to overlook that, I suspect given the great views of the docks and the Vol Navy on game day, as well as the newly refurbished JFG sign just down the river. It’s a pretty peaceful feeling out on the deck given that the hustle of the city is just a few blocks away.