The Bearden area of West Knoxville has a new pocket park named for the legendary Everly Brothers, who lived in the area as teenagers. The Bearden Council, which represents local neighborhoods and businesses, is planning a fundraising campaign to add landscaping, educational and biographical information.
City Council approved the naming of Everly Brothers Park at its meeting Tuesday night. The small park is at the corner of Kingston Pike and Forest Park Boulevard. The land was acquired by the State of Tennessee as part of the reconstruction of the adjacent bridge across a rail line. The state Department of Transportation has given the City a renewable lease to use the property as a park.
“Knoxville is proud to be the city that nurtured the Everly Brothers, and this commemorative park will be a great addition to the neighborhood,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Thanks to the state for its assistance, and thanks to the Bearden Council and City Councilman Duane Grieve for leading this effort.”
There will be a dedication ceremony at the park at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7.
Bearden Council is leading efforts to raise funds to complete the landscaping and features of Everly Brothers Park, including benches, bicycle racks, an artistic centerpiece and memorial plaques. The East Tennessee Community Design Center has done a conceptual design for the park (attached). Anyone interested in contributing or learning more can contact Bearden Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 454-9475.
The Everly Brothers grew up playing music with their parents, Ike and Margaret, and the family moved to Knoxville in 1953. They became regulars on Cas Walker’s radio program on WROL, and both brothers enrolled in West High School. It was in Knoxville that they met Chet Atkins, who encouraged their nascent songwriting efforts and told them to look him up if they got to Nashville. After Don graduated from West High in 1955, the family moved to Middle Tennessee so the brothers could pursue their musical career. Two years later, they had their first pop smash with “Bye Bye Love.”
The Everly Brothers went on to sell more than 40 million records, with 35 Billboard Top 100 singles and 12 Top Ten hits. Their vocal harmonies influenced generations of rock and country performers, and they were particularly revered by the Beatles. They are one of the few acts to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Councilman Grieve said, “This park will be a real jewel for the Bearden Village area. It is a great collaborative effort between the neighborhoods, the state, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, Visit Knoxville and other partners.”
“Bearden Council considers it a privilege to pay tribute to one of the most influential and successful duos in musical history,” said Bearden Council member Dennis Owen. “Everly Brothers Park is a public-private initiative that celebrates local history and encourages the community to learn about the formative years of rock ‘n’ roll."
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