Friday, October 5, 2012

Cruising Blount County Tennessee

Continuing with our exploration of East Tennessee, Laurie and I looked up a few sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places…and we went on a drive around Bount County. 

Blount County is located just south of Knoxville Tennessee and its population is included in the Knoxville Primary Statistical Area.  FYI… Knoxville ranks 54th in the USA as a Primary Statistical Area.  For more information on these population statistics, go to
This is one view of St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 314 West Broadway in Maryville Tennessee.   The oldest part of the structure is at the left side of the photo.  This has been an Episcopalian place of worship since 1940 and it has been updated and expanded several times over the years.

Of course, the key question is…why it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places…?
The answer to the question posed above is that this front portion of the church was built in 1871 as a Meeting House for the local Society of Friends (Quakers).  It’s truly a beautiful building…

Blount County was the 10th county formed in what is now Tennessee…way back on July 11, 1795.  The county was named for William Blount, the then Governor of what was called the Southwest Territory.  The city of Maryville, (the County seat), was named for Governor Blount’s wife, Mary Grainger Blount.   The adjacent Loudon County was actually created in 1870 when it was split off of Blount County.  Although technically still part of Blount County, another portion of the county was also included in the Smoky Mountain National Park…effectively removing it from county jurisdiction.  
This Victorian Italianate structure is the Peter Bartlett House at 315 High Street in Maryville.  It was built circa 1887.  It was listed in the NRHP in 1989 as a part of a massive submission of historic homes and structures in the College Hill neighborhood of Maryville.  Over 100 homes were included in this listing to include several built in the 1880’s.  Several of them were built by Friends (Quakers) who moved to the area from Indiana.

The first non-native American settlement here was established in 1785 when John Craig built a fort, (Craig’s Fort), designed to protect local settlers when Indian raids were feared.  Craig later donated 50 acres adjacent to the fort as the original town site for Maryville. 
As the sign states, this is the John Alexander House.  It’s located at 714 Hillside Avenue in Maryville.  This home was built in 1907 on the campus of Maryville College by alumnus John Alexander.  As with many other historic properties, it was also was added to the NRHP in 1989.  The house is now being used as offices for the College.

Maryville College is a four-year liberal arts college that was founded in 1819 by a Presbyterian minister named Isaac L. Anderson.  It’s one of the 50 oldest colleges in the United States.  Enrollment stands at around 1,100 students.  The school was racially integrated for most of its history…until 1901 when the state of Tennessee forced all schools to segregate the races.  (It should be noted that only 24% of the county’s residents voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War) Graduates of Maryville College have been as varied as Richard Sellars, the former Chairman and CEO of Johnson and Johnson…and Sen Katayama, one of the co-founders of the Japanese Communist Party.
For more information regarding Maryville College, just click on this link:
This is as close as we could get to the Alexander Hamil House on Morganton Road, south of Maryville.  The wood frame front section was built circa 1885 but there is a brick “I” section in the back that dates back to the 1830’s.  This house was added to the NRHP listing in 1989 along with many other Blount County locations.  From what we could see, it was in need of some major restoration.  I couldn’t find any other information on this house…and I still haven’t been able to figure out how to use/access the NRHP files on these historic properties. 

Well…that’s about it for now.  More historical information will follow in subsequent blogs.  After all, it can’t all be about restaurants and food!
Just click on any of Laurie’s photos for a closer look…
Thanks for stopping by and going for a drive with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. You certainly do not lead a boring life. These properties are all very interesting and Laurie's
    pictures of them are wonderful. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  2. Dear Dave, That was interesting and I do enjoy the history of each place. Tenn. looks like a beautiful state with grand history.
    I don't mind if you threw in where you ate. I enjoy your reviews.
    Blessings to you and Laurie. Catherine

  3. I'm sure learning a lot from you. keep it up.

  4. Tell Laurie the pictures are awesome and love all !! What lovely place David blessings to both!