Register in advance for this meeting:
Our walking tours concentrate on architecture that’s still visible. Next week, we’ll be using photographs and other images to show the most impressive buildings that have vanished: what we know about them, and what happened to them. We’ll show the seven best, in our opinion, as well as several runners up, as time allows. Among those we’ll definitely talk about are the Vendome, Staub’s Opera House (aka the Lyric), the Market House, and Girls’ High School. Some of them vanished during the lifetimes of people still living, and we’d value any personal memories of them, for the record.
The state celebrates June 1, 1796, as its birthday, the day President Washington signed a document and gave Tennessee the formal welcome into the Union. However, most people in Tennessee considered themselves to have been a state for almost four months before that. We’d elected a governor, and he’d give speeches to the state legislature—which met in Knoxville, which was the capital of the new state. The whole story of why the date “Feb. 6”—not June 1–was once heralded on our state seal has been almost forgotten. Jack Neely will talk about how a remarkable month-long event right on Gay Street, involving 55 of the most prominent pioneer settlers in America, resulted in the creation of a state, without sanction from Congress or the Chief Executive. And how our first constitution is not as embarrassing to read as most early state constitutions are.
This program will be a hybrid event. We will stream the lecture on Zoom with up to 25 participants attending in person at Blount Mansion Visitors Center. In-person attendees must register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give us your name and the number of individuals in your party.
Register to attend Virtually:
Dr. Magra will explore how conflict and compromise brought different people together and made it possible for Tennessee to become the sixteenth state in the Union in 1796. Of course, settlers such as William Blount, Andrew Jackson, and John Sevier had been here since the region was a U.S. territory and the State of Franklin. For the Cherokee, Tanasi is a much older place. The surprising history behind the 1795 constitutional convention that Blount led in Knoxville to start the process for statehood tells us a lot about eastern removals and westward expansion that occurred all over the country in the wake of the American Revolution.
Please join us for KHP’s annual fundraiser as we honor a remarkable couple, Charles and Terry Faulkner for their considerable contributions to what we know about Knoxville’s history. Full details on the Faulkners and the virtual event can be found here.
If you would like to donate now, please visit our donations page
No registration is necessary. The event will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube. To join the event through KHP’s Facebook page, please click here. To join the event through KHP’s YouTube page, please click here.
Thank you for your support.
Storyteller Laura Still helps you live the stories of pioneers, soldiers, outlaws, and even fictional characters who walked these streets before you. Learn more about Laura and her story on our Knoxville Walking Tours Page.
Knoxville has a rich history full of colorful characters and famous, and infamous, figures whose lives have been the inspiration for books, movies, and works of art. Take a stroll through history in beautiful downtown Knoxville while listening to true tales of the heroes, heels, and hardened criminals that are part of the hidden lore of this unique East Tennessee town. A portion of ticket proceeds are donated to KHP.
Rather than the usual schedule of tours, we’re keeping things safe by doing private tours with one group at a time. You pick the tour and time — subject to availability. Ghost tour in broad daylight? Yes! (though it won’t be as spooky)
Masks are required. Bring your own or we can set you up. Your guide carries extras along with ear savers for your comfort.
We’ve reduced our minimum group size to 3 adult tickets / $60 so you don’t need a big group. For couples, that means paying $10 extra per ticket, but you get Laura’s undivided attention and you can ask her anything about Knoxville and its history. She never runs out of fascinating stories!
To book, just give us a call at (865)309-4522
New! – Side Street Shadows Ghost Tour
Hear more tales of ghostly history as you follow storyteller Laura Still on the Side Street Shadows tour. Find out who haunts the Farragut, how a gunfight on Cumberland nearly started a war, and where you might meet the courteous spirit of a scholar or the grumpy ghost of a violent rebel. Details & Tickets
Shadow Side Ghost Tour
Brave souls who enjoy a chill can join us for a trip into Knoxville’s shadow side. The city’s history of blood-stained streets echoing with gunfire is full of restless spirits. Visit their haunts and hear local legends of ghostly apparitions. Details & Tickets
Shadow Side 2: Ghosts of the Old City
Red Summer, drunken brawls, hot lead, and blood on the tracks. Knoxville’s Old City used to be known as the bowery, where victims of murderous brawls, dealdly shoot-outs, and horrific train crashes haunt the old buildings and back alleys along with the ghost of a musician who hasn’t quite faded away. Details & Ticket
Walk the streets of a city torn in two by divided loyalties and then get an overview of the fighting from the observation deck of the Sunsphere. Spies, bridge burners, miracle shots, betrayal, and battle. Details & Tickets
Family feuds and wanted outlaws. You’ll relive the days when Knoxville was the wild west and Gay Street was the OK Corral. Details & Tickets
Step back over two centuries and visit Knoxville’s founders as you listen to the stories of the settlement of White’s Fort and establishment of the capital of the Southwest Territory at the headwaters of the Tennessee. Details & Tickets
The Knoxville story has always been set to music, from the time when the poetic rhythms of the native Cherokee tribes still echoed in the hills and the ballads of the Scots-Irish settlers were sung around campfires on the riverbanks. Immigrants from all over the world brought new instruments and tunes to enliven the song and make Knoxville home to musicians of every genre. Details & Tickets
Home of Cormac McCarthy, Nikki Giovanni, James Agee, and more. You’ll visit the scenes that inspired them and walk in the footsteps of their characters. Details & Tickets
The Civil War in Knoxville
It’s been over 150 years since the battle of Knoxville, one of the most sharply divided cities during the civil war. Occupied by both sides with recruiting offices set up on Gay Street on the same day, Knoxville was home to spies, street fights, and family feuds that outlasted the war. Visit the downtown sites and then get an overview of the battles and fortifications from the observation deck of the Sunsphere. Details & Tickets
Knoxville Botanical Gardens
Ten years before Tennessee became a state, David Wessels Howell planted an orchard and garden on land where the Cherokee still roamed. This was the beginning of a family business that would span two centuries, from the frontier days through the Civil War and the industrial age to modern times. Now the Howell family’s legacy has been preserved as a public garden spanning 47 acres, with walking trails and hand-laid stone walls that cross through sunny meadows and leafy glades among an astonishing variety of trees and plants. Come walk with us and hear its stories and secrets. Details & Tickets
Old Gray Cemetery
Just north of downtown Knoxville, Old Gray Cemetery is a little-known historic jewel. Founded in 1850 as part of the rural park cemetery movement, it became a popular destination for carriage rides and picnics in its early days. Join us for a guided tour of notable interments and hear stories of statesmen, soldiers, scholars, and spirits. Details & Tickets