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Historic Ramsey House
Knoxville, TN 37915
2614 Thorn Grove Pike
Knoxville, TN 37915
The Asbury United Methodist Church, known for its Gothic Revival style, dates to 1898, but that construction was an elaborate renovation of an even older structure. The land was donated for the use of the church in 1855. Note its square bell tower and roof described as "bellcast," that is, in the shape of a bell. More history can be found at asburyumcknox.org.
Historic Ramsey House 2614 Thorn Grove Pike (Stopping Point)
Ramsey House, extraordinary for its time and place, is an all-stone house built for the family of Francis Ramsey (1764-1820), originally of Pennsylvania. After his involvement as an officer in the abortive state of Franklin, Ramsey was, with James White and a couple of others, one of Knox County's original settlers, and soon helped establish Lebanon-in-the-Forks Presbyterian Church, as well as the new state of Tennessee. Ramsey called his property Swan Pond to describe a nearby body of water, mostly gone today.
This remarkable house is the first known building in history to be built primarily of Tennessee marble. It's also one of very few surviving creations of its architect Thomas Hope (1757-1820), the English-born, London-educated builder and furniture maker who had begun a career as a house designer in Charleston, S.C. before coming to Knoxville. (Only one other known Hope-designed house, Statesview in West Knoxville, still stands.)
Ramsey and his first wife, Eliza, had several children and in 1800 entertained internationally influential Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury here. One son, J.G.M. Ramsey, who grew up here, is remembered as Tennessee's first state historian, author of Ramsey's Annals. The elder Ramsey outlived two wives and married a third only months before his own death at age 56. After his death, his wife Margaret, who had already outlived two husbands herself, bore him a son who became a prominent local physician.
The house served as a private home for more than 150 years but has been operated as a museum house since 1953. Furnished entirely with period antiques, Ramsey House's backyard has, in recent years, hosted games of Knoxville's two vintage "base ball" teams, competing with other teams around the state by 1864 rules baseball.