Historic Homes and Sites in Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee, is rich with history, evident in its many historic homes and sites. From the birthplace of the city at James White’s Fort to the Victorian elegance of Westwood, each site offers a unique glimpse into the past. These locations not only preserve architectural beauty and historical significance but also host a variety of events and educational programs that bring the history of Knoxville to life.

Key Takeaways

  • Knoxville features a diverse range of historic homes and sites, each with unique architectural and historical significance.
  • These historic locations offer insights into different eras, from the founding of the city to the Civil War.
  • Many sites are preserved and operated as museums, providing guided tours and educational programs.
  • Seasonal events, reenactments, and community engagements are common, allowing visitors to experience history firsthand.
  • Exploring these sites provides a deeper understanding of Knoxville’s development and its role in American history.

Blount Mansion: A Window to the Past

Blount Mansion: A Window to the Past

Architectural Features

Blount Mansion captivates visitors with its unique architectural features that reflect the colonial American era. The structure is renowned for its hand-hewn beams and original wooden floors, providing a glimpse into 18th-century craftsmanship.

Historical Significance

Blount Mansion is not just a home; it’s a piece of American history. This site served as the capitol of the Southwest Territory, playing a pivotal role in the expansion of the United States beyond the original thirteen colonies.

Visiting Blount Mansion

Visiting Blount Mansion offers a rich educational experience with guided tours that highlight the mansion’s history and its role in American expansion. The site also hosts various seasonal events that celebrate its historical significance and engage the community.

James White’s Fort: The Birthplace of Knoxville

James White's Fort: The Birthplace of Knoxville

The Life of James White

James White, the founder of Knoxville, was a Revolutionary War captain who ventured into what is now East Tennessee in the late 18th century. His fort, built in 1786, served as a crucial defensive structure and a hub for the burgeoning settlement. White’s leadership and vision were instrumental in shaping the early community.

Structural Layout

The fort’s layout is a testament to the strategic thinking of the era, featuring a robust wooden palisade and a central blockhouse. Visitors today can explore the reconstructed buildings and get a sense of the challenges faced by early settlers.

Events and Reenactments

James White’s Fort hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including historical reenactments that bring the 18th century to life. These events offer a unique opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the past, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists interested in historical exploration.

Mabry-Hazen House: Echoes of the Civil War

Mabry-Hazen House: Echoes of the Civil War

The Mabry-Hazen Family

The Mabry-Hazen House, nestled atop Mabry’s Hill, offers a panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains and serves as a testament to the Mabry-Hazen family who played a significant role during the Civil War. This historic home still houses the original family furnishings, providing a unique glimpse into 19th-century life.

Civil War Artifacts

The house is not only a treasure trove of personal family items but also features an impressive collection of Civil War artifacts. These relics, which include uniforms, weapons, and personal letters, offer a tangible connection to the past, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Guided Tours

Guided tours of the Mabry-Hazen House are available, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the history of the home and its occupants. These tours are both educational and engaging, making it an ideal outing for families, students, and history buffs alike.

Crescent Bend House & Gardens: Beauty on the River

Crescent Bend House & Gardens: Beauty on the River

Nestled along the scenic Tennessee River, Crescent Bend House & Gardens is a stunning showcase of natural beauty and historical architecture. This site offers a tranquil escape with its meticulously maintained gardens and the historic Armstrong-Lockett House, which dates back to 1834.

Garden Walks

Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the various themed gardens, each offering a unique blend of flora and artistic layout. The gardens are a favorite for both locals and tourists, providing a perfect backdrop for photography and relaxation.

The Armstrong-Lockett House

Explore the rich history of the Armstrong-Lockett House, originally built as a summer home for Drury Paine Armstrong. Today, it stands as a testament to early American architecture and offers visitors a glimpse into the past lives of Knoxville’s elite.

Seasonal Events

Crescent Bend is not just a summer destination; it hosts a variety of seasonal events throughout the year. From spring tulip displays to autumn harvest festivals, there’s always something happening that showcases the estate’s vibrant beauty and community spirit.

The Ramsey House: A Pioneer Homestead

The Ramsey House: A Pioneer Homestead

Nestled in the scenic outskirts of Knoxville, The Ramsey House stands as a testament to the pioneering spirit of early American settlers. Built in 1797, this historic homestead was the residence of Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey, a key figure in Tennessee’s early development.

Francis Alexander Ramsey

Colonel Ramsey, whose efforts helped shape the Knoxville area, was not only a founder of Blount College but also involved in the establishment of the state of Tennessee. His home reflects his influential role and is a crucial piece of the region’s history.

Preservation Efforts

Over the years, The Ramsey House has undergone numerous preservation efforts to maintain its structural integrity and historical accuracy. These efforts ensure that visitors can experience the house much as it was in the late 18th century.

Educational Programs

The Ramsey House also serves as an educational hub, offering programs that delve into the life and times of early American settlers. These programs are designed to educate school groups and the general public about the challenges and triumphs of pioneer life.

Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey’s legacy continues to educate and inspire visitors, making The Ramsey House a cherished landmark in Knoxville’s historic landscape.

Marble Springs: The John Sevier Home

Marble Springs: The John Sevier Home

Marble Springs, the homestead of John Sevier, Tennessee’s first governor, offers a unique glimpse into the early American frontier life. The site is nestled in the natural beauty of Knoxville and serves as a testament to the resilience and pioneering spirit of one of America’s early leaders.

John Sevier’s Legacy

John Sevier’s contributions to the formation of Tennessee are monumental. His leadership during the state’s early years set a foundation for growth and governance. Visitors to Marble Springs can explore the very grounds where Sevier made critical decisions that shaped the region.

The Farmstead Layout

The layout of Marble Springs is indicative of typical 18th-century farmsteads, with several outbuildings including a barn, smokehouse, and weaving house. These structures highlight the self-sufficiency required of early settlers. The farmstead layout not only provided for the Sevier family’s needs but also supported community interactions and development.

Special Occasions at Marble Springs

Marble Springs hosts a variety of events throughout the year, celebrating both historical and contemporary culture. From reenactments of historical events to seasonal festivals, these gatherings provide an engaging way to experience the past while enjoying the present. Each event is crafted to enhance the understanding of the historical significance of John Sevier and his homestead.

Westwood: A Glimpse into Victorian Knoxville

Westwood: A Glimpse into Victorian Knoxville

Westwood, an architectural gem, offers a unique look into the opulent Victorian era of Knoxville. This historic home, built in the late 19th century, stands as a testament to the lavish lifestyles and intricate design preferences of that period.

Victorian Architecture

The house features ornate woodwork, stained glass windows, and a grand staircase, making it a prime example of Victorian craftsmanship. The attention to detail in each room highlights the era’s emphasis on aesthetics and comfort.

Famous Residents

Westwood was once the home of Adelia Armstrong Lockett, a prominent figure in Knoxville’s social circles. Her influence on the city’s cultural development during her residency is still celebrated today.

Public Tours and Events

Visitors can explore Westwood through guided tours that delve into the history and stories behind its walls. The house also hosts various events throughout the year, making it a vibrant part of the community.

The Craighead-Jackson House: Stories in Stone

The Craighead-Jackson House: Stories in Stone

Architectural Design

The Craighead-Jackson House showcases a remarkable blend of colonial and neoclassical architectural styles. Its sturdy stone construction not only tells a story of the era’s craftsmanship but also highlights the durability and aesthetic appeal that has stood the test of time. The use of local stone and traditional building techniques makes it a significant example of regional architecture.

Historic Landmark Status

The Craighead-Jackson House has been designated as a historic landmark, reflecting its importance in the architectural and cultural tapestry of Knoxville. This status helps preserve its structure and history for future generations, ensuring that the legacy of the area’s early settlers continues to be celebrated.

Educational Outreach

The house serves as a vibrant center for educational outreach, offering programs that delve into the rich history of Knoxville and the architectural significance of the house. Visitors can engage in interactive tours and activities designed to enhance their understanding of the past, making it a valuable resource for both locals and tourists.

The Bleak House: A Civil War Witness

The Bleak House: A Civil War Witness

Civil War History

The Bleak House stands as a poignant reminder of the Civil War’s impact on Knoxville. This historic home served as a headquarters for Confederate generals, making it a significant site for military strategies. The walls still bear witness to the past, with visible bullet holes and artifacts preserved within its structure.

The Confederate Memorial Hall

Originally a family home, The Bleak House was transformed into the Confederate Memorial Hall. It now houses a collection of Civil War relics and memorabilia, offering a deep dive into the era’s local and national significance.

Weddings and Events

The Bleak House also serves as a stunning venue for weddings and events. Its rich history combined with the elegant architecture provides a unique backdrop for celebrations, making every occasion memorable.

Armstrong-Lockett House: Art and Elegance

Armstrong-Lockett House: Art and Elegance

Nestled in the heart of Knoxville, the Armstrong-Lockett House stands as a beacon of art and elegance. This historic home not only showcases an impressive art collection, but also tells the rich story of the Lockett family, who have been instrumental in shaping the cultural landscape of the area.

Art Collections

The house is renowned for its extensive collection of American and European artworks, ranging from classical paintings to modern sculptures. Visitors can explore various exhibits that rotate throughout the year, providing a fresh and engaging experience with each visit.

The Lockett Family

The legacy of the Lockett family is deeply intertwined with the Armstrong-Lockett House. Their commitment to preserving history and promoting the arts has made this house a cornerstone of Knoxville’s heritage. Their efforts ensure that the elegance of the past continues to enrich the present.

Community Engagement

The Armstrong-Lockett House is not just a historical site; it’s a vibrant part of the community. It hosts numerous events and workshops that encourage public participation and foster a deeper appreciation for history and art. These activities make the house a lively and welcoming place for both locals and tourists alike.

The Baker Peters Jazz Club: History Meets Harmony

The Baker Peters Jazz Club: History Meets Harmony

Nestled in the heart of Knoxville, The Baker Peters Jazz Club is not just a venue; it’s a historical landmark where jazz and history blend seamlessly. This club, housed in a building that dates back to the 19th century, offers a unique atmosphere that echoes the rich musical legacy of the past.

Historical Building

Originally constructed as a residence, this architectural gem has witnessed numerous transformations before becoming the beloved jazz hub it is today. Its walls, steeped in history, provide the perfect backdrop for the soulful sounds of jazz.

Jazz in Knoxville

Knoxville’s jazz scene has been vibrant and evolving, and The Baker Peters Jazz Club has been at the forefront of this musical movement. Hosting live performances nightly, the club plays a pivotal role in keeping the city’s jazz culture thriving.

Nightly Performances

The club’s commitment to showcasing both established and emerging talents ensures a dynamic lineup every evening. Visitors can expect a diverse range of jazz styles, from smooth classics to contemporary beats, making every night at the club an unforgettable experience.


Exploring the historic homes and sites in Knoxville offers a unique glimpse into the city’s rich past and vibrant culture. From the stately architecture of Victorian homes to the poignant stories held within Civil War sites, each location tells a part of Knoxville’s story. Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a meaningful way to spend a day, Knoxville’s historical treasures provide an enriching experience for all. So, take a step back in time and discover the enduring charm and historical significance of Knoxville’s most beloved landmarks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the opening hours for Blount Mansion?

Blount Mansion is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Can I host events at James White’s Fort?

Yes, James White’s Fort offers facilities for private events, including weddings and corporate gatherings.

What kind of artifacts can be seen at the Mabry-Hazen House?

The Mabry-Hazen House displays a wide range of Civil War artifacts, including weapons, documents, and personal items from the Mabry and Hazen families.

Are there guided tours available at Crescent Bend House & Gardens?

Yes, guided tours are available, offering insights into the history of the house and a stroll through the beautiful gardens.

What educational programs are offered at the Ramsey House?

The Ramsey House offers various educational programs focused on pioneer living, historical crafts, and early American history.

What special occasions can be celebrated at Marble Springs?

Marble Springs is a perfect venue for hosting special occasions like weddings, picnics, and historical reenactments.

Is the Westwood open to the public for tours?

Yes, Westwood is open for public tours, which highlight its Victorian architecture and historical significance.

What type of events can be held at The Bleak House?

The Bleak House can accommodate events such as weddings, receptions, and educational seminars, all within its historical setting.

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