Founded on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River in 1791, Knoxville was a frontier town as well as the birthplace and first capital of Tennessee. From the postcolonial years through the Civil War and on to Knoxville’s emergence as an industrial, dynamic, and thoroughly American city, downtown was where everything happened—the setting of the city’s most memorable stories and legends. Spanning First and Second Creeks and connecting the river to the railroad, downtown is where Knoxvillians have built their most defining churches, opera houses, movie theaters, and hotels. Here, traditions, holidays, and the endings of wars have been celebrated; suffrage leaders exhorted politicians to pass a national amendment; conservationists planned a national park; idealistic engineers and architects of a New Deal program reimagined a multistate valley; and musicians convened to record and broadcast new forms of folk music that would be called “country.” Downtown is where bizarre gunfights drew national attention and a notorious outlaw escaped from jail and rode the sheriff’s horse to freedom across the Gay Street Bridge.
About the Authors
Authors Paul James and Jack Neely, of the Knoxville History Project, chronicle the story of downtown Knoxville through a fascinating collection of vintage photographs and illustrations from local archives and collections.
Downtown Knoxville by Paul James and Jack Neely
Pub Date: January 24, 2022 ISBN: 978-1-4671-0772-3 $23.99 | 128 pp. | Paperback