Knoxville’s Historic Buildings, Knoxville

Knoxville County is home to nearly 100 listed historic properties and districts, representing the area’s prestigious and rich history. Check out the following tour of the most prominent historic and architectural gems Knoxville has to offer.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Knoxville’s Historic Buildings Map

Guide Name: Knoxville’s Historic Buildings
Guide Location: USA » Knoxville (See other walking tours in Knoxville)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Author: Sandra
1
Craighead-Jackson House

1) Craighead-Jackson House

The Craighead-Jackson House is a historic two-story, brick house in Knoxville. The home was constructed by John Craighead in 1818. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Craighead-Jackson is a white brick house consisting of two stories and a basement. The first story consists of a hallway that spans the center of the house from east to west and contains the house's two main entrances and staircase, with a sitting room on the north side of the house and a parlor on the south side. The second story has two bedrooms, with the south side bedroom being slightly larger than the north side bedroom. The basement has a dining room and a large "unfinished" room. Chimneys are located at both the north and south ends of the house. A small porch graces the door along the front (west) facade of the house, and a larger covered porch is located at the rear of the house.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Andrew Johnson Hotel

2) Andrew Johnson Hotel

The Andrew Johnson Building is a high-rise office building in downtown Knoxville. Completed in 1930, the 203-foot (62 m) structure was Knoxville's tallest building for nearly a half-century. The building was originally home to the Andrew Johnson Hotel, and is now used for office space by Knox County. The building's eighteen stories consist of fifteen floors, a mezzanine, and a two-story penthouse. The building is rectangular in shape, with a recess running up the middle of the west facade. The ground floor extends out beyond the rest of the building to provide a base for the unique second story, which includes an open-air pavilion.

While most of the building's exterior consists of brick, the ground floor's Gay Street facade is sheathed in concrete cast to appear as rusticated stone. Most of the windows for floors four through fifteen are simple, rectangular windows, with the exception of the fourteenth-floor windows, which are topped by small arched pediments. Atop the building is the penthouse, which is seven bays wide, and is adorned with brick Ionic pilasters. In 1980, the Andrew Johnson Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Knox County Courthouse

3) Knox County Courthouse

The Knox County Courthouse is a historic building located at 300 Main Street in Knoxville. Built in 1885, it served as Knox County's courthouse until the completion of the City-County Building in 1979, and continues to house offices for several county departments. The courthouse is a 2.5-story brick structure with an imposing clock tower. It contains a mixture of architectural styles, including Colonial elements in the clock tower and Gothic elements (including qua-trefoil patterns) in the balcony and porch. Much of the interior has been altered. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in the county's political history.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
First Bank Building

4) First Bank Building

The First Bank Building was constructed in the mid-1920s and has over the years housed the offices of dozens of banks, physicians, and various financial and architectural firms. In 1988, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville's commercial history.

The main facade of the building, facing Market Street, consists of three arched openings, with the north opening leading to the general lobby, the south leading to the bank lobby, and the middle opening containing a window. The bank lobby is the most elaborate interior room, consisting of arched ceilings and a second-story mezzanine with a balustrade. The general lobby contains marble floors and bronze-plated elevator doors. Much of the building's interior was extensively remodeled in the early 1970s.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Burwell Building, Tennessee Theater

5) Burwell Building, Tennessee Theater

The Tennessee Theatre is a 1920s-era movie palace, located within the Burwell Building in downtown Knoxville. The Burwell Building was built in 1907. At a height of 166 feet (51 m), it was Knoxville's tallest building until 1912. The Tennessee Theater occupies an annex to the building that was added in 1928.

The theatre first opened on October 1, 1928, and with nearly 2,000 seats in the auditorium, was billed as "Knoxville's Grand Entertainment Palace". Its interior was designed by Chicago architects Graven & Mayger in the Spanish-Moorish style, although the design incorporates elements from all parts of the world: Czechoslovakian crystals in the French-style chandeliers, Italian terrazzo flooring in the Grand Lobby, and Oriental influences in the carpet and drapery patterns. The theatre was one of the first public buildings in Knoxville to have air conditioning. The theatre also featured a beautiful Wurlitzer Organ. On April 1, 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Holston National Bank

6) Holston National Bank

The Holston is a condominium high-rise located in Knoxville. Completed in 1913 as the headquarters for the Holston National Bank, the fourteen-story building was the tallest in Knoxville until the construction in the late 1920s of the Andrew Johnson Hotel, located a few blocks away. The Holston was designed by architect John Kevan Peebles, and today represents the city's only Neoclassical Revival-style high-rise.

In 1979, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its prominent position in the Knoxville skyline. Most of the building is built with buff yellow brick, with the exception of the first three stories of the Gay Street and Clinch Avenue facades, which are sheathed in Tennessee marble. The interior of the Holston, although heavily renovated in 1977, still contains several original elements. The entrance foyer has a vaulted ceiling with plaster rosettes, and a frieze decorated with triglyphs and metopes. The lobby originally contained Greek and Art Deco motifs, but these were removed during the 1977 renovation.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Fidelity Building

7) Fidelity Building

The Fidelity Building is an office building in Knoxville, initially constructed in 1871 for the wholesale firm Cowan, McClung and Company. The building was home to Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company during the mid-twentieth century, and has since been renovated for use as office space. In 1984, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville's late-nineteenth century wholesaling industry.

The Fidelity Building is a four-story, three-bay brick building originally constructed in 1871, and extensively remodeled in 1929. The building was originally designed in an Italianate style, and contained a central pediment and balustrade, and storefronts flanked by Corinthian columns. In 1929, the architectural firm Baumann and Baumann remodeled the building, and the pediment, balustrade, and exterior Corinthian columns were removed.

The building's first-story Gay Street facade, which reflects the 1929 remodeling, consists of an ashlar veneer, with a recessed entrance topped by an eagle-and-garland frieze. The rear of the building is largely unaltered from its 1871 design, the exception being a one-story addition added in the early 1980s. The building's interior, which also reflects the 1929 remodeling, includes a central hall with gray marble walls and floors, and square Corinthian columns.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Old Knoxville City Hall

8) Old Knoxville City Hall

Old City Hall is a complex of historic buildings, originally constructed in the late 1840s as the Tennessee School for the Deaf and Dumb (now the Tennessee School for the Deaf). The complex served as Knoxville's city hall from 1925 until 1980. Old City Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey. It currently houses Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law.

The complex consists of five interconnected buildings - the three-story main building, completed in 1851, and four additions behind the main building, built between 1874 and 1899. The entire complex sits atop a wooded knoll. The facade of the central section contains a portico with four Ionic columns supporting a large pediment, and accessed by a marble staircase. One of the rear additions was designed in the Italian Renaissance style, and another contains Neoclassical elements. The buildings' interiors have been modified extensively over the years as the roll of the complex changed.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Louisville and Nashville Depot

9) Louisville and Nashville Depot

The Louisville and Nashville Depot, a former train station on Western Avenue and Henley Street in downtown Knoxville, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Constructed in 1905, this Victorian structure was initiated by Richard Montfort, the railroad’s master engineer. It served as a major passenger terminal for 65 years. The building was refurbished in 1982. Today it accommodates a banquet hall and office space, a perfect venue for wedding receptions and other civic events.
10
Foundry on the World’s Fair Site

10) Foundry on the World’s Fair Site

This foundry, constructed in downtown Knoxville in 1865 to meet the needs of the city and particularly the railroad, was abandoned, burned and completely renovated for the 1982 World’s Fair. Purchased by the present owners in 1993, this landmark is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Today this beautifully restored iron foundry houses a spacious banquet hall for weddings, parties, luncheons and other special events.
11
Laurel Terrace Knoxville

11) Laurel Terrace Knoxville

Laurel Terrace Knoxville, a most astonishing preserved house, was constructed in 1893 as a residence for candy manufacturer Martin Luther Ross’ family. This elegant property in the Fort Sanders Historic District, located two blocks from the UT campus, is distinguished for its Romanesque details and beautifully landscaped award-winning gardens.
12
Laurel Theater

12) Laurel Theater

Home to the Jubilee Community Arts in the Fort Sanders Historic District, the Laurel Theater was formerly the site of the Fort Sanders Presbyterian Church. Constructed in the late 19th century, this building was extensively renovated in the 1980s into a top rate concert hall, including a second stage, administrative offices and other facilities. The Jubilee Community Arts is a foundation devoted to the preservation and promotion of original music and art from the Southern Appalachians.

Walking Tours in Knoxville, Tennessee

Create Your Own Walk in Knoxville

Create Your Own Walk in Knoxville

Creating your own self-guided walk in Knoxville is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kingston Pike Walk in Knoxville

Kingston Pike Walk in Knoxville

Since the 1790s Kingston Pike, located on Knoxville’s west side, has been the city’s major thoroughfare and commercial district, including many cultural, religious, food, entertainment and retail establishments. The following tour of Kingston Pike includes the thriving Bearden District, the center of Knoxville’s arts community.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Knoxville's Coffee Shops

Knoxville's Coffee Shops

If you’re searching for relaxation and a cup of great coffee, Knoxville’s Old Town offers several coffee shops. You can enjoy not only coffee, but also baked goods and perhaps some good conversation. Take the following tour to visit some of Knoxville’s best coffee shops.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Family Tour in Knoxville

Family Tour in Knoxville

Downtown Knoxville is the best place to take a lovely daytime stroll. The following tour of attractions includes children’s favorites the Candy Factory and Fort Kid and several other family-oriented landmarks and entertainment venues.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Nightlife in Knoxville

Nightlife in Knoxville

Knoxville is home to many great bars and clubs to hang out, many of them concentrated in the Old Town district. Take the following tour to discover some of the most vibrant places in the city, including the Sapphire, Hanna's Café, Patrick Sullivan's, Preservation Pub and more.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Downtown Knoxville Orientation Walk

Downtown Knoxville Orientation Walk

Knoxville is home to many historic and cultural attractions, places of interest including World’s Fair Park, Market Square, Gay Street, stunning skyscrapers, the Convention Center and more. Take the following tour to become better acquainted with the best sites Knoxville Downtown has to offer.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Art Walk in Knoxville

Art Walk in Knoxville

Art lovers will discover Knoxville full of creativity, with beautiful artwork on display at multiple galleries and the Knoxville Museum of Art. South Gay Street is home to several museums, art venues and shops specializing in local art. Take the following tour to explore Knoxville as eastern Tennessee’s cultural hub.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Knoxville for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Knoxville has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Knoxville, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.