Today I’ll finish up with some of last Sunday’s tour of the Fourth and Gill neighborhood. Located just north of downtown, this community is home to a number of young professionals and I ran into a number of them on the tour. Nina Phalen, owner of Style of Civilization, and her husband Edgar Smith had just left the Martin House as I walked toward it.
After talking to them for a minute I found the home, built in 1920, situated at 1121 Eleanor Street. It was built and lived in by Fred Worsham who, with his brother, also built such Knoxville landmarks as The Andrew Johnson Hotel, Church Street United Methodist Church, the Medical Arts Building and First Baptist Church. That’s a pretty big stamp on the southern edge of downtown.
The home is a bungalow currently inhabited by Sean and Sara Martin. I didn’t realize until writing this article, but the couple was pictured in the News Sentinel as a promo for the home tour. Sean lived in the home first, and Sara moved in when they married six years ago. Each graduates of the UT College of Architecture, they obviously have a love for well constructed, older homes. Sara also maintains a website highlighting her art and thoughts about most everything you might imagine. The couple are currently embarking on an independent business venture, so it’s an exciting time for them.
The home is unique with its low-pitched roof-line and non-traditional front. It looks, to my untrained eye, like a a more modern construction than I would expect in 1920. The interior has a host of fine detail work and features large windows, tall ceilings and beautiful floors. Built-in cabinets with glass doors and built-in book cases add to the charm. A long hallway combines the old hardwood with modern lighting above, giving the home a traditional feel with fun touches.
The couple replaced a dilapidated back porch with a master bath and the home features a beautiful kitchen and all the modern amenities you might hope for. The art on the walls, an eclectic mix including, I suspect, some of Sara’s work brings it all together.
The Kincannon-Barton House was built in 1905 adn is a bit more traditional with a symmetrical front and a front porch extending the entire length of the front of the house. With its large stairs rising to the porch, it reminds me of older homes such as one might find on a plantation. The feeling continues inside the front door with a beautiful staircase rising just beyond the beautiful foyer. The fireplace in the dining room is a highlight, as well.
The stair case leads up to a large apartment with a separate entrance from the rear of the house. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a third floor ballroom, but there it was. Small, but non-the-less serviceable. The apartment will be occupied, soon, continuing a multi-family use of the structure that goes back to around the second world war. At one time the home included “five apartments, plus one in the basement, and another in the garage.”
The final stop for me was the Sander’s House at 714 Haynes Place. Built in 1928, it is now home to Daniel Sanders, Deputy Law Director for Knox County. He has a simple commute each day to the City County Building just a couple of miles away. He and his father have lovingly restored this nice home since he purchased it in 2010.
This is a home that has not been sub-divided, but which was built as a duplex from the beginning. When Daniel purchased the home it had deteriorated tremendously, had severe water damage and out-dated, spliced together wiring. Now it sparkles. The floors are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. They were covered with carpet when he arrived and outside of some scattered patching that was necessary, the flooring is original.
The china displayed on the dining room table belonged to his great-grandmother and it looked perfectly at home in this charming townhouse. Upstairs, three small bedrooms were converted to two larger bedrooms with modern baths and large closets. It’s hard to imagine the home being in poor shape. He acknowledged that it feels good to finally not be living in the middle of a construction zone.
It was a good tour and one I would certainly recommend you keep an eye out for next year. As I walked back to my car through the neighborhood, it was hard no to stop and take a photograph of every second house or so. It is simply a beautiful place to live and those who get to do so are very fortunate.