The weekend was as beautiful as could be hoped for in late October in Knoxville. In other words, it was picture perfect. The dilemma was in choosing which events to pursue. Of course there was a pretty big football game, but there was much more. One of the events I couldn’t miss was a Parkridge home tour which featured prohibition era homes (1907 – 1933).
The tour included a helpful booklet from which I took most of the information you’ll find here, so credit given. Susan Koelzer organized the tour and a tip of the hat to her and her committee. She said the prohibition idea, which I thought was brilliant wasn’t hers, but it was a very good one. The period saw dramatic shifts in architectural styles for homes and the variety of structures in this neighborhood displays that fact.
You’ll find the neighborhood just outside downtown proper. It’s an easy bike ride, with most of the ride being level ground. As you can see from the map, it sits to the north of Magnolia up to the Interstate and from Hall of Fame on the west end to Cherry Street on the east. It was actually incorporated as Park City from 1907 to 1917 when it was annexed by Knoxville. It started as a streetcar suburb in the 1890s and became a primary housing area for workers from Standard Knitting Mills in the coming decades. In 1990 six hundred homes in the area were listed as historic and, most recently, significant effort has been made to restore many of those homes.
I’ll take them in the order I found them, which didn’t necessarily match their order on the tour. Seven homes and three condos (inside Park Place) were open for tours. Other homes were noted on the map, but, unfortunately, I didn’t have time to focus on those. I did, however, stop to photograph some that struck me on the way. I didn’t jot down their addresses, so just know they are out there somewhere in Parkridge.
I started at 1701 Glenwood, which I thought was appropriate as the tour focused on Knoxville’s shift from the Victorian structures championed by George Barber. A number of homes he designed may be found in the neighborhood and this one is the last home in which he lived, but it marks a shift in style to a much more modern look. Built in 1912, George and his wife Laura lived in it only until 1915 when they each died within nine days of the other.
It’s had a hard history, with many owners and several runs at the rental market. Remarkably, it has retained most of its original features. Most recently, it was purchased just this summer after fifteen years sitting vacant. A resident of the community purchased it to restore and that seems to be a theme here: Parkridge residents are very committed to their neighborhood. They renovate multiple houses, live in the neighborhood for a decade or more and generally try to make the area a better place to live.
This home featured very helpful signs describing what is involved with the restoration process and what might be found beneath the walls of homes this age. It can be scary. This kind of work is not for the faint-hearted.
The home at 1616 Washington was built in 1920. Apparently the family living there got a radio by 1930, which was a large deal. The current family living there enjoy a beautiful stained-glass window in the bathroom, a lovely, modern kitchen and and a nicely lighted artist studio space in the back. I also stopped in at the lovely 2106 Washington (ca 1920s), before making my way to 2413 Washington.
This home, like many in the area, looks much smaller and more modest from the street, but packs surprises on the inside. Easily one of the most beautifully restored on the tour, it was constructed in 1915. The original owner was a German immigrant and most of the early owners and renters were working-class. The home is rented, now, but the current owners were present to show the home’s rich interior.
The woodwork alone is worth the time to walk through. A stained-glass window lowers and raises between the kitchen and the dining room. The kitchen itself is very nice and the back yard is nice, as well. Like many of the homes from the era, the porch is spacious and inviting. Built-in book cases line walls in the front room and this is another theme of many of these homes.
I’ll stop there for today, but there are others that simply have to be shown, so I’ll continue tomorrow. It’s amazing what a wealth of affordable homes can be found just a mile or so out of downtown. If you want to live near the city, but don’t have the budget for downtown, you really might want to take a look here. I’ll show one tomorrow that is actually for sale.
This also seems like as good a time as any to introduce two of my newer sponsors. If you look at the “Downtown Properties” tab up at the top of this page (or click the link), you’ll see properties which are currently available in the downtown area. My friend Melinda Grimac introduces herself on the page and you’ll find her contact information there. If you want to find a home downtown, she can help you make it happen. Contact her.
And while we are on new sponsors, you may have noticed the new ad for 5 Bar Restaurant to the right of this article. They are, of course, the new restaurant I wrote about a few weeks back and they have become one of mine and Urban Woman’s favorite restaurants downtown. You’ll find a fun little video if you click the link above. Tell them you saw their ad here.
If you’d like to see your ad here, just let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org), I’d love to welcome a few more businesses aboard. Meanwhile, tomorrow we’ll have more lovely properties from the Parkridge area.