617 Deery Street, Fourth and Gill Tour of Homes and Secret Gardens, Knoxville, April 2023
The 33rd annual Four and Gill Tour of Homes and Secret Gardens was on display this past Sunday. As if on cue, the flowers bloomed, the sun shined, and the crowds came. Maybe the biggest crowds ever for the event. Urban Woman and I have taken in probably ten of the thirty-three tours, so we’re veterans and I don’t remember bigger crowds. As always, a special thanks goes out to Arin Streeter whose research and writing provides all the information you’ll find included here.
As veterans, we skipped a couple of spots we’ve seen and I’ve photographed before. Two spots included on the tour got the full article treatment recently and for a look at those, I’d refer you to the article on 933 Luttrell Street from March 2023 and 800 Luttrell Street from October of 2022. A word also, on the photographs: I did the best I could but, inevitably, there were shots I simply could not get because of the crowds. If a home or garden gets short shrift in the article, it’s no reflection on the spot, but on the photographer. I’ll split this into two parts as I’ve done before because there is so much good here.
The tour (and we) started at 201 3rd Avenue, AKA Central United Methodist Church. I’ve photographed it before, but we wanted to step inside to enjoy the dulcet sounds of Brett Burdick (drums) and Brian Sward (guitar). We enjoyed a few sweet songs to start our journey and it served as a perfect beginning. As we left, I began photographing pretty flowers along the way. I can’t credit the specific gardeners, but the neighborhood shimmered in the soft spring sun.
617 Deery Street offered a range of delights from the beautiful 1886 home to the very cool carriage house and, certainly not least, the Oasis of Peace garden. The property was purchased in 1882 for $350 by George Fenton who built the home. George owned a marble company on Depot Street. With his wife Ella, the two added bay windows, a two-story addition to the rear, and two porches. The major renovations allowed them to sell to Eugene and Ana Depue for a handsome sum of $3000 in 1891.
As happened with many of the homes in the neighborhood, it became a crowded rental home during the depression and for years after. Purchased in 1979 by a family intent on restoring it, the home has returned to most of its original configuration. A carriage house located on the rear of the property boasts a full kitchen, dining and living space and a Murphy bed. I want to live there.
The carriage house overlooks what has “long been called an Oasis of Peace.” Packed with special features, the garden, separated from the street by a white picket fence, has been shaped by neighborhood families. It features brick walkways, the neighborhood’s oldest Tulip Poplar, a greenhouse, koi pond, prayer maze, hookah hut, grape arbor, seating areas, and fountain. All the features are set among native plants, peonies, day lilies and fruit trees.
Additional Photos (Click to Enlarge), 617 Deery:
Next we enjoyed a few open gardens, built with love and ready to be shared with others:
I did take a photo of 933 Luttrell Street, even though we didn’t tour inside. The flowers in the front have come to life since the last time I photographed it:
I’ll conclude the first part of this look at the home and garden tour with our stop at 1104 Luttrell Street. The home and gardens were open and both were a delight. The home was constructed in 1915 by J.W. Sullivan and W. H. Underwood, owners of Sullivan and Underwood, “a gentleman’s clothiers located on South Gay Street.” Among a number of owners, George and Blanche Boudreau were the longest term, at sixty years, with one or both of them living in the home from 1946 – 2006.
Interestingly, the home was built to match the home at 1122 Luttrell. Fully renovated in 2012, the home is now owned by the Howetts who are responsible for the fascinating garden in the rear. Described in the guide as “an urban oasis with a twist of industrial whimsy,” there are lots of little surprises to be found there. A beautiful upper-story balcony over looks the garden and offers its own small oasis.
Additional Photos (Click to Enlarge), 1104 Luttrell:
I’ll shoot another (somewhat shorter) article out this afternoon to conclude the tour.