(If you missed the first article in this two part series, you’ll find it here.
We’ll start the second portion of my tour with 1122 Luttrell Street, built as an identical home to 1104 Luttrell Street in 1916. It was first owned by Frank Bradley, who operated the Dairy Kitchen restaurant on Market Street. Starting in 1925, William J. (who worked for Southern Railway) and Susie Murrian lived in the home until his death in 1943.
In recent years, the home was abandoned for two decades and was condemned in 2003. Fortunately, it was “acquired by the city’s Homemaker Program.” After extensive renovation and repair, the home was purchased by the current owner in 2010. Touring the beautiful home its hard to imagine that it was once in such poor condition.
The property at 1111 Gratz was once a part of a larger estate belonging to James Baker Hoxsie and Zilpha DePue. During the war, James was a major in the Union army and fought at the Battle of Fort Sanders in 1863. After the war he settled in Knoxville and he and Zilpha built a home with a large estate that bordered what is now Broadway. James died in 1888 and Zilpha began selling off parts of the estate as lots in 1910. The portion at 1111 Gratz was purchased by John D. Russell for $400.
John and Mary Russell built the home in 1912 and lived there for eight years before selling to John and Lillie Mae Stone. John died in 1927, and Mrs. Stone in 1948. Their daughter, Clara, who had lived in the home from childhood, remained until 1972. She “worked as a saleslady for S.H. George and Sons department store on Gay Street.” The current owners purchased the home in 1974. One of my favorite features is a former window, now a French door that opens onto a wonderful balcony overlooking the neighborhood.
Eugene H. and Bessie B. Kurtz built and moved into this Queen Anne cottage in 1900. The area was by then a suburban development, but her family had lived there long before that was the case. Her father, Louis Gratz, the lone mayor of North Knoxville before it was annexed into Knoxville, lived across the street. Her mother’s family, the Bearden family, have their name sprinkled about the city even today.
The couple only lived in the home for five years, selling in 1905 for $2700. The house sold again in 1907 to Cynthia and William Walker. William, who worked for Jim Anderson Co., grocers on Market Square, died in 1921. Cynthia remained in the home until her death in 1934.
The current owner purchased the home in 2019, returning to Knoxville after forty-three years in the San Francisco area. She loves her home with its porches and her neighborhood. She’s learned that the exterior of the home remains unchanged from its original appearance. Much of the flooring is original as are the four coal-burning fireplaces. A room was added to the rear of the home. Since her purchase, she has replaced half the wiring, some of the plumbing, and a number of other touches ranging from small (new flooring in bathroom) to very large (removal of stairs from the back deck to the yard, all new kitchen).
As for the gardens, she says that the yard was mostly weeds overrun with ivy when she arrived. She’s planted trees, including redbuds, and added a number of native plants. She has raised beds and has tried vegetables (bunny food), switched to zinnias, and has landed on a mix of herbs and vegetables that she’ll try this year. She also built a fire pit, “where essentially nothing else would grow.” She loves relaxing there on cool evenings.
Additional photos (click to enlarge) of 922 Gratz:
The final stop on this year’s tour, 712 Gratz, has a somewhat different story than many of the other homes. The property, originally part of a larger parcel was owned by Joseph Baumann who, with his brother Albert formed Baumann Brother’s Architects, a leading firm of the era. His sister, Lovenia Roberts purchased the plot from him in 1885 and built a home facing Deery Street. Twenty-five years later they built on the back section of their lot, facing Gratz, meaning 712 Gratz dates from 1910.
The home’s history differs from other homes in the neighborhood, many of which became rentals over the years, in that it was a rental from the beginning, with its first tenant moving in in 1911. Over the years the residence served as home to many working class families including a bookkeeper, “piano tuner, machinists, stenographers, widows, dressmakers, and clerks.”
Harry Simmons, a Greyhound bus driver, became the first owner occupant the house had ever seen. The property was eventually split from the house it backed to. The current owners have owned the home for for years and “have made extensive renovations.” Several features in this lovely home caught my eye like the great children’s play room/bed room upstairs, the new deck out back and more.
That’s it until next year. I’ll look forward to it and I hope you’ll join me if you missed this year’s tour. I’ll leave you with one last flower (not perfectly crisp because the wind was blowing it, but beautiful)!