The Parkridge Home Tour fell at the same time as the Open Streets event making for a conundrum of sorts for me and a number of others. Each started at 1:00 PM, though the Parkridge event lasted two hours longer, ending at 6:00 PM. Both are integral to what this site has become about: Better urban living. I decided to participate in Open Streets until 4:00 PM and then shoot over to Parkridge to see how many of the homes I could see before 6:00 PM. I did pretty well, only missing one home and Park Place.
The quotes you see here and all the historical information are from the excellent brochure provided for the tour. The theme of the tour was World War II era homes and several were built during or just after the war, though some exceptions were included on the tour. In those cases, the history of the home during that era was emphasized.
I skipped around a bit, but started with 1618 Washington Avenue in an absolutely stunning home. It’s a George Barber home – like so many in the neighborhood – and it was built in 1890. Within just a few years the owners took on borders and “by 1943, the house was divided into five apartments . . .” It was only in 2006 that Knox Heritage restored it to a single-family home. And it is so occupied today.
And what a home! From the floors to the exquisite banister all the way up into the turret, the house sparkles. Detailed molding runs throughout the home, which also features numerous small fireplaces with simple, but lovely mantels. An upstairs bedroom looks out through a circular stained-glass window – with a rectangular frame in its center – onto a second-floor balcony. A claw-foot tub from the era sits in the master bath.
1731 Jefferson Avenue is also likely a Barber home, built in 1891. While a lodger is noted to have lived with the family in the 1940s, this home appears to have remained a single family residence for most of its history while seeing several large families inhabit it for a time. With lots of original woodwork from the floor to the banisters and more, the home also features a funky-cool colorful painting rising over the stairwell.
2030 E. Fifth Ave. was most notable for the excellent collection of World War II memorabilia. The two current residents of the home each have a collection from their grandfathers. One of the young ladies, Beth, has the items her grandfather brought home from the war along with his excellent drawings which she said he did during the war, but stopped completely at its conclusion. Her roommate, and my friend, Jessica, has hundreds of letters written by her grandfather from the war. His family fled Europe just before the war, but he enlisted in the American army to return and fight the Nazis.
2413 E. Fifth Ave. is a Victorian era home built in 1893 and was a rental home from its beginning up until the World War II era. To say that this home is beautifully decorated is a dramatic understatement. The entire home has been lovingly restored and features much of the original woodwork. From the rich drapes to the opulent chandeliers and the beautiful fountain in the back, the home is a study in elegance. It’s really a Victorian showplace and has been the home for the current couple since far before the current resurgence took place in the neighborhood.
2455 Magnolia Ave. is a home with incredible bones which will be a showplace in the future. John Craig, whom many of you know as “Mr. Biscuit” and who heads the International Biscuit Festival, will undertake the renovation. It’s a bit of a bold move because not many homes on Magnolia have had the kind of investment he’ll soon make in this one. With the Magnolia corridor work set to begin just down the street, the home will probably not be the last property in the area to see a significant upgrade. Check out that beautiful wood.
2324 Jefferson Ave. featured beautiful woodwork, mantels and floors. Also included was a large chalkboard wall in the kitchen that appears to get good use. Like so many of the homes from the era, it is deceptively large inside when contrasted with how it addresses the street. A look at the long hallway down the center gives an idea of the size.
My last stop was at 1026 N. Olive St. Where a local favorite topic was the focus for my entire time in the home. Renovation and restoration is on everyone’s mind. They’ve done it, are doing it or have plans. We talked about layers of wall paper, dating the house, insulation, hidden fireplaces, original and later addition sections of the home and on it goes. Its very encouraging to see this kind of passion for saving old homes among people who are generally on the younger side of adulthood. The home was built in the 1930s.
I wish I could have made it to the others, but I was able to see most of the homes and enjoy some of the great stories. It really is an incredibly beautiful neighborhood and with work continuing, it promises to be more so. The mix of homes which have been renovated to those which have not reminds me of the 4th and Gill neighborhood just a few years ago. If you haven’t ridden around the area in along time, I’d encourage you to do so. To learn more about its history, check out this typically excellent article by Jack Neely.
I’ll have more photographs sometime later on the Inside of Knoxville FB page, so watch for that.