Thank you for your interest in supporting the Knoxville History Project.
KHP relies on support from readers like you to research, preserve, and promote the unique history of Knoxville, a city whose past makes it distinct from all other places. We publish new compelling stories and create historical experiences that are memorable, educational, and relevant to the city’s future.
KHP seeks general support to fund our ongoing programming. Contributions of any size truly make a difference to allow KHP to cover new ground and make Knoxville history more accessible for everyone.
South Knoxville Community History
KHP will complete a two-year project to publish a new full-color community history book on the history of South Knoxville. The scope of the book is broad, taking in everything south of the Tennessee river to Tarklin Valley on the southern border of Blount County, and east to the Sevier County line.
We’ll be covering the early years of the land that some settlers referred to as “Iredell” for the North Carolina home of founding father Captain James White and some South Knoxville pioneers. Officially outside of city limits until 1917, South Knoxville was known by many early residents simply as “South America.” During those early days, ferrymen like Alexander Cunningham and Jesse Simpson transported livestock, civilians, traders and politicians including first state governor John Sevier. These men and their services were in high demand during times when no reliable bridge spanned the Tennessee River.
We’ll look at durable businesses and industries that primarily developed alongside the river or the railroad, including Ross Marble Quarry, Rose Lumber, Jones Brickyard, Vestal Lumber, and Jefferson Woolen Mills. The remains of some of these sites still inform the southside landscape.
While many businesses have vanished, others now have new leases on life, among them Loghaven, established by the tenacious Myssie Thompson, who in the 1930s created an unusual enclave of log cabins that attracted an often-bohemian set. The site has been converted by Aslan Foundation into an artist residency. In the 1930s and early ‘40s, off Chapman Highway above Ye Olde Steakhouse, German-born Alfred Clauss designed Little Switzerland, a cluster of five houses that has now been recognized as the first International Style modernist development in America.
We’ll also be delving into the stories of African Americans such as Cal Johnson, owner of the southside racetrack where Suttee landing Park is today; William Hastie, who grew up on Woodlawn Pike, and studied law before becoming America’s first Black governor (of the U.S. Virgin Islands) and who has a local natural area named after him; and Ben Maynard, a Martin Mill Pike farmer and florist.
We’ll also round up histories from all major neighborhoods, historic churches, cemeteries, schools, businesses, racetracks, and other notable sites across the landscape.
In partnership with the historic Bijou Theatre, KHP will research and coordinate production for a book that tells the history of the African American experience of the Bijou Theatre, including the Lamar House, and related stories. The project will coordinate with the Bijou’s campaign to restore the old “colored” second balcony, unused for half a century.
KHP will complete an illustrated historical narrative of the St. Mary’s Hospital Site in North Knoxville for the City of Knoxville. Included will be the site’s 19th-century origin as Oak Hill and the hilltop mansion of industrialist F.A.R. Scott (1826-1909); the initiative of saloonkeeper Daniel Dewine (1863-1927), who donated property to the Sisters of Mercy for a Catholic hospital in honor of his daughter who died young; and the legendary Sister Mary Annunciata (ca. 1895-1963), who in the 30-year period of her administration, earned her the sobriquet “the best businessman in town.”
This year will also see the centennial of the movement to create a national park in the Smokies. KHP will mark the occasion by developing a new narrative of the dramatic story of Knoxvillians’ role in the founding of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and host several related programs and events.
Download KHP 2024 Priorities brochure: KHP_2023 appeal_brochure_v3
Talks and Tours: KHP serves Knoxville residents and visitors through engaging educational programs, both in-person and online. Our programs illuminate the city’s past, incorporating new research and previously untold stories covering a broad range of subjects, presented by KHP staff and guest presenters.
Research Projects: KHP works with individuals, developers, property owners, government departments, and community-based organizations to research and produce new narratives expanding awareness and a better understanding of the city’s complex past.
“The Scruffy Citizen:” Freshly researched articles highlight a diverse variety of relevant but little-known stories from Knoxville’s past, shared with KHP supporters and then posted online.
Knoxville History Online: KHP’s website offers a comprehensive online resource, including stories, historic sites, image galleries, videos, podcasts, maps, and our online store.
Knoxville Shoebox: We encourage community members to share photographs, brochures, and illustrations to be permanently archived for historical use. Selected images are highlighted in monthly articles in West Knoxville Lifestyle magazine.
Library Readership: To serve the general public, we produce hardback versions of KHP story collections for readers in the Knox County Public Library system.
Become a “Friend of KHP” by making an online donation today. You will receive an exclusive story written by Jack Neely every month. Give $100 and we will also mail you a copy of our annual story compilation in the fall.
Please download the KHP Contribution Support Card if you would like to make a donation and mail it in to our office at our new address at 123 S. Gay Street Ste. C, Knoxville, TN 37902.
KHP is seeking sponsors and donations to underwrite our priority projects and signature events:
To learn more about the above projects, please call 865-337-7723 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your generous support.
Corporate Matching Gifts
If you’ve recently made a contribution to KHP (and we sincerely thank you!) or if you are planning on making one soon, ask your employer if they have a matching gift program. You might be surprised to learn that your employee may match your gift up to a certain dollar amount which could mean doubling the impact of your gift to KHP.
If your employer requires information from KHP to be included in such a program please contact our Development Director, Paul James, at email@example.com who will be happy to help. Thank you.