Market Square is coming right up. You will know it when you get there. This is the time to browse, shop and grab a bite to eat. I’ll be telling you about some of the cool stores and restaurants in the market, so be patient and enjoy this history lesson:
Early in the history of Knoxville it became apparent that the city’s north side was going to be a focal point of the growing community. In 1854 Market House became the first structure built in the area. It was an open sort of building, much like the Auction House Market in New Orleans. Though the building was dedicated as a perpetual farmers’ market, it was created not as a philanthropic effort, but a real estate development.
Market House was a busy place, regardless of your social situation in life, as everyone shopped here. It was called "The most democratic place on earth. Where the rich and the poor, the white and the black, jostle each other in perfect equality.” The building contained a large auditorium where country music was played, as well as performers such as Duke Ellington.
It also served as a setting for political rallies, including those of the suffrage movement. Today Market Square is known as a historic district and pedestrian mall… a hipster destination, with plenty to see, eat and drink. It’s a place to spread out, splash in the fountain, or shop till you drop.
Let’s talk about what you can find in Market Square. The Tennessee Department of Tourism Development has been on an advertising blitz, drawing attention to the state’s mind-blowing musical offerings, invigorating outdoor adventures, historical landmarks and, to be sure— its died-and-gone-to-heaven cooking. The Department’s motto is: No matter what you like, you can find something to love in Tennessee.
You are also sure to find something to love at Stock & Barrel with its 20 signature burger combinations and more than 150 whiskeys and bourbons. Everywhere one travels there are restaurants claiming to have the world’s best burger. The Knoxville based Stock & Barrel restaurant doesn’t need such embellishment given that they’ve already been named by TripAdvisor as having among the best in America…the land of the free, home of the hamburger.
Founded in 2013, Stock & Barrel is a stylish, farm-to-table restaurant with a focus on quality and local ingredients. The beef is sourced from Mitchell Family Farm in nearby Blaine that supplies Stock & Barrel which is grain fed, pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free. The sixth-generation ranchers and growers also have a tent during Market Square’s Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where they feature their USDA inspected beef, along with flowers, and homegrown seasonal decor. The buns for Stock & Barrel’s gourmet burgers come from Flour Head, a small, local artisan bakery specializing in international breads.
With their emphasis on the finest bourbons and modern variations of classic cocktails, it’s easy to say there’s a great deal of Tennessee character in Stock & Barrel.
Scruffy City Hall is what locals like to call their happy place. Among the top reasons cited is the rooftop bar with its outstanding food and drinks, live music, as well as the presiding view of Market Square. In this era where customer experience is front and center in the hospitality industry, rooftop bars and restaurants are all the rage. In addition to the entertainment value that they provide, rooftop establishments offer patrons the chance to meet new people. Knoxville residents don’t want to stay indoors. They enjoy getting out and creating new friends… perhaps forming a new social circle. And what better place than atop the Scruffy City Hall rooftop? It's a great destination even if only for a quick drink. If there on a hot day, misting fans will cool you off along with that cold brew or specialty cocktail.
Speaking of cool, many customers say it’s the coolest place to hang out in Knoxville. However, at Scruffy City Hall there are not two, but three floors of enjoyment. A second-floor balcony is another vantage point from which to people watch. People say the bar has an "Wild West" charm, where one can sit under the stars upon church pews, and where the staff climb ladders in retrieving liquor bottles from the upper shelves. “In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is freedom. In water there is bacteria.” It’s a passage from Benjamin Franklin that should be among a group of drinking quotes adorning the wall of Market Square’s Preservation Pub, whose own slogan, “Welcome…You’re in good company,” tells of its standing as a favorite spot to relax and unwind.
In addition to the drinking quotes, there are four floors of art, a speakeasy, glowing crystals, colorful flamingos and, get this, a Magic Beer Tree. It’s a real tree whereby the sap turns sugars into beer… a mahogany-colored lager at that! Well not really.
The Magic Beer Tree is, however, one of the largest pieces of art in the city. It alone makes it worth visiting the pub. There’s actual foliage growing on the structure, and, most importantly, at its trunk there are numerous beer taps dispensing favorite local and national brands.
Preservation Pub also includes Knoxville’s longest-running rooftop bar that can be reached by carefully climbing the limbs and branches of the Magic Beer Tree. Again, not really. You can, however, relax and unwind on the rooftop of what has been voted Knoxville’s best bar and one of the 10 Best Pubs in the USA, by USA Today. The bar played an important role in revitalizing Market Square, hence the name Preservation Pub. It’s open year-round until 3:00 a.m. and has live music every night. In a line from Winnie-the-Pooh, author A.A. Milne wrote “We didn’t realize we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun.”
That sums up Not Watson’s restaurant on Market Square, with its curious name born of memories, and epitomizing what the Knoxville establishment is all about— having fun. First, the name. Watson's was a department store chain based in Knoxville that grew to many locations throughout the Southeastern United States. The owner of the restaurant tells of his memories as a child, climbing into the family car with his siblings on Saturdays and asking his mother where they were going… though it was invariably to the discount retailer, upon which the children would exclaim in mock loathing— “Not Watson’s!” When the building that once housed the former department store became available the restaurateur knew precisely where he wanted to open his restaurant and the name he wanted for his Market Square establishment.
As the website says, “Call it destiny, a blast from the past, whatever you like…Not Watson’s was creating some pretty cool memories, long before we opened its doors.” With a main menu, brunch menu, extensive drinks menu, and a menu just for kids, Not Watson’s offers something for everyone. Its fried green tomatoes are said to be delicious, tart and super crispy. There’s homemade pimento cheese, sweet and tangy tomato jam along with smoky savory country ham, and main entrees such as braised beef short ribs, and “Not Yo’ Mama’s Chicken and Waffles.”
Last but not least, McDonalds may have its fries, but Not Watson’s has world class tater tots! There are over 300 unique honey varieties in the United States. Most of them have a wonderful aroma and taste. But a few of them are simply the best, including the bright and mesmerizing flavor of tupelo honey, that comes from the tupelo tree and not from the Mississippi town where Elvis was born.
The tupelo blossoms last just three short weeks and during that time the weather must be mild and calm to produce a good honey crop. No matter the weather conditions, Tupelo Honey on Market Square is ready to serve bright and mesmerizing Southern dishes. Just as the tupelo tree nectar makes for delicious honey, the Southern spirit that goes into each recipe at Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar makes for delectable food. Emblazoned upon the menu at Tupelo Honey are the words “forever free.”
They’re not making a patriotic clarion call, but rather it’s the restaurant’s way of saying that the meat they serve is free of antibiotics or hormones. Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bars works closely with their providers, ensuring that animals are pasture-raised, sustainably farmed, and the seafood is harvested in the wild. Animal welfare is always a top priority for the restaurant, its providers, and customers!
Delicate or bold, dress up or dress down pretty much encapsulates Fizz fashion boutique in Market Square. The store fancies itself as one of a kind, and indeed it is. Its mauve storefront shouts out as much. Let’s start with the clothing. It originates from all over the world and is made of natural fabrics. The people at Fizz have created a store that is funky and unique. The styles they carry are hard to find, and some frequent visitors to Knoxville make it a point to stop by this shop whenever they’re in town. Fizz also makes jewelry. The store is ideal, not only for women shoppers looking for those unique earrings, but for men seeking to find an item that’s both just right, yet sentimental for their paramour, or for themselves. Hint: Meaningful jewelry gifts don’t have to break the bank. Just select something that demonstrates that you pay attention to your partner’s tastes and style.
Having an “eggsistential” crisis? Try brunch at Ruby Slipper where they’re crazy… strike that… obsessed, as they say, about brunch. Like all the uniquely named establishments along Market Square, Ruby Slipper views itself as a distinctive place culturally in Knoxville. In this case the New Orleans based restaurant group believes that they’ve created, not only a restaurant, but a mind space that “celebrates the craveable and creative flavor and spirit of brunch.” At Ruby Slipper there are no apologies, or explanation, nor justifications needed for enjoying crispy bacon, for relishing an egg atop most any dish, and where bottomless mimosas and tasty syrup seize the day.
Café 4 at 4 Market Square considers themselves pioneers in the revitalization of downtown Knoxville given the condition of the neighborhood upon the café’s founding. They also consider themselves pioneers in bringing modern food and drink options to Scruffy City. According to the website, Café 4 was “birthed from a desire to bring hospitality and high-quality local fare to the heart of Market Square.” It’s also a place that prides itself on serving delicious, locally roasted coffees, and serving specialty cocktails.
There’s yet another fizz establishment on Market Square— a candy store named Rocket Fizz. They claim to have the largest selection of candy and soda ever found in one store. Rocket Fizz carries hundreds of craft sodas produced in microbreweries from all over the world. They also claim to sell almost every candy ever made.
Even their Facebook page sparkles with pure enjoyment, including Fun Fact Friday, with factoids about your favorite candies, such as: During World War II, American soldiers were given Tootsie Rolls in their rations because of the candy’s ability to withstand all weather conditions. How about this- Each regular-sized Snickers bar contains 16 peanuts. And The color distribution in a bag of Reese’s Pieces is 50% orange, 25% brown, and 25% yellow. The name 3 Musketeers comes not only from the Alexandre Dumas adventure novel, but also because the bar once included chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors.
While making your way around Market Square, stop by the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial. As the name says, it honors the women who campaigned for the state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to give women the right to vote. Tennessee was the final state to ratify the amendment. The sculpture was unveiled in 2006 as part of a day of commemorations, which included a re-enactment of a suffrage march, with women in vintage clothes and replica sashes, and carrying replica banners.
Coffee and Chocolate…sounds like a European movie about enjoying life to its fullest before it’s too late. It is, however, Knoxville’s premier dessert shop. The beans used in brewing their macchiatos, mochas, and drip coffees are locally roasted. What better to have with that coffee than chocolate? The difficult question is— what to select? The pairing combination has been a part of Western culture since the 1600s. Macarons are one signature offering at Coffee and Chocolate. What about milk chocolate ganache infused with honey whiskey? Peanut butter truffle? White Chocolate Pistachio? Whatever you select… go ahead and indulge!
After you are done, please meet me at the corner of Wall Ave and S Gay St. Just follow your navigation!
Here we are at historical Gay Street. From Wall Ave, please turn right. Or, turn left and explore, but make sure you come back and keep walking down Gay Street. If you are looking for old theaters, art galleries, and lots of buildings that are on the National Register of Historic places, here is where you will find them. Gay Street is where the state of Tennesse was founded, in 1796. From 1861-1865, the Civil War brought about some action here, as the street housed the headquarters of many commanders and generals. In 1854 Gay street was paved, making it the first paves road in all of Knoxville. Go ahead and stroll down this historic street and see what you can find. I’ll meet up with you in a few. Also, for your information, Knoxville Old City is a few blocks northwest from here, around the corner of S Central St and E Jackson Ave, if you’d like to go check it out later. Despite its name, the Old City is not the oldest section of Knoxville, which was settled in 1791 and incorporated in 1815. Most of the neighborhood didn’t become a part of the city until the 1850s, when the arrival of the railroad encouraged its annexation. Old City is anything but aged in character, given its contemporary vibe with diverse, trendy restaurants offering selections ranging from Milanese cuisine paired with fine Northern Italian wines, to fun, casual, small-plate Japanese dishes, to specialty sandwiches, and of course slow cooked Southern barbeque. Like many present-day urban neighborhoods, there are community-based coffee shops serving an assortment of international coffees, teas, and yummy, homemade baked goods. For nightlife, there are attractive bars and restaurants housed in 19th century buildings, still sporting their original wood flooring, interior brick walls, stained glass windows, and bar tops. Don’t be scared off by the fact that, given their age and bawdy history, some of these establishments have been the subject of paranormal research. Speaking of ghosts, as you walk around Old City, cast your eyes towards the many ghost signs still adorning the sides of these buildings, once prompting Knoxvillians from previous centuries into buying Coca Cola, to long-forgotten cigar, ice cream, and bakery brands. And yes, there are plenty of interesting shops to explore, offering select bath and body merchandise, unique home and garden equipment, to fashionable clothing and accessories. Many of these stores are also dog-friendly…which probably wasn’t the case a century and a half ago when there was a different cultural mentality towards our four-legged friends. One place where you’re pretty much guaranteed not to see a dog, at least not a dog of an art show is the Emporium Center. Located within a former factory, Emporium is Knoxville’s first true arts center, offering 28,000 square feet of galleries and studios showcasing the works of leading Central Tennessee artisans. Located at the northeast corner of the city's downtown area, Old City was once a place best avoided by ordinary, law-abiding citizens. In 1901, Iowa-born Kid Curry, a member of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang, shot a couple of Knoxville deputies in Old City. Fleeing out of a back window, he was promptly captured and put in county jail, yet somehow managed to escape and was last seen riding a stolen mare belonging to the sheriff southward across the Gay Street Bridge. Ok, move along!
Are we having fun yet? This is such a cute part of town. Up next is the historic Tennessee Theatre. You can probably see the marquee up ahead on your left. Don’t rush through this one, because the East Tennessee History Center is on the opposite side of the street from the theatre and I’ve got lots to say about it.
Google search “The most famous person from Knoxville” and Quentin Tarantino is the name that comes up. The eight-time Academy Award winner was the only child of Connie McHugh and aspiring actor Tony Tarantino, who left the family before his son's birth. Quentin moved to Los Angeles with his mother at age four but returned to the Knoxville area in the fifth grade. Continuing with the Knoxville - Hollywood theme, there’s also Philip John Clapp, best known professionally as Johnny Knoxville, the stunt performer, actor, writer, and producer, and star of the reality stunt show Jackass, who adopted his hometown as last name. For Knoxvillians, famous or not, there’s a good chance they have a memory or two that involves the historic downtown Tennessee Theatre. If nothing else, locals identify with the iconic “Tennessee” sign that commands attention along Gay Street. The Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928, during the era of Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. It immediately became a Knoxville hot spot and was hailed as the most beautiful theatre in the entire South. Tennessee Theatre’s grandiose interior was inspired by cultural influences from all over the world. The lobby incorporates Moorish stylings, Czechoslovakian crystals in enormous French-style chandeliers, Italian terrazzo flooring in the Grand Lobby, and Asian influences in the carpet and drapery patterns. When the first patrons stepped inside their new “movie palace” to see their favorite stars of the silver screen, they paid only 40 cents for matinees and 60 cents for evening shows. Tennessee Theatre was one of the first public buildings in Knoxville to have air conditioning. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater truly has something for everyone: including classical music, vintage films, dance, Broadway plays, leading pop music stars, and an iconic Wurlitzer organ. Like many original theaters around the country, periodic closings in the late 1970s foretold difficulties ahead. The Theatre then began its gradual shift in programming from a single-screen movie theater to that of a multi-use performing arts venue, which prolonged its existence but exaggerated its many shortcomings. After a $29 million renovation, the former movie palace reopened in 2005 as a world-class performing arts center. Today it is home to the Knoxville Opera, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, in addition to hosting special events such as wedding receptions, private parties, corporate meetings, and other functions drawn to by its magnificent interior. Alrighty, look on the opposite side of the street. Davey Crockett’s long rifle and Dolly Parton’s red dress are two of the most talked about items on display at the East Tennessee History Center, which opened in 1993, then expanded in 2008. Only a short walk from Market Square, the museum is not overbearing in size, but offers a comprehensive and engaging history of the 35 counties covered by the East Tennessee Historical Society. Visitors from out of town consider the museum a rewarding stop, while locals enjoy returning again and again to experience its traveling displays. East Tennessee is known for its beauty, mountains, whiskey, and bluegrass music, as well as a heritage that stands apart from the rest of the state. The East Tennessee Historical Society recognizes this distinctiveness with programs and exhibitions uniquely tailored to the region. Their educational mission is to engage the public with the message that East Tennessee history is important. The museum is jam-packed with exhibits showcasing slices of life from the Smokey Mountain region— from Native Americans to the Tennessee Valley Authority and country music. The museum likes to tell the history using individual stories; therefore you will find hundreds of personal artifacts such as letters and clothing from everyday people used to illustrate the events of the time. The first exhibit you’ll come across after leaving the museum lobby are two wall-sized photographs of downtown Johnson City and Chattanooga in the early 20th century and brought to life by the old Island Home streetcar and recreated drugstore soda fountain. One of the most interesting permanent exhibits is named Voices of the Land. Through artifacts, images, and technology, the exhibit tells the story of three centuries of life in the mountains and valleys of East Tennessee.
In 2005 the Knoxville civic leaders ensured that the historic Bijou Theatre remained a city treasure for future generations by successfully securing federal funding for its restoration. One year later it reopened and in 2009 celebrated its 100th birthday ─ and has since evolved into an annual event called the Bijou Jubilee. Built in 1909 as an addition to the Lamar House Hotel, the theatre has hosted a variety of performing arts activities. Today, the Bijou continues to play a starring role in Knoxville as one of the most outstanding entertainment centers in the region and boasting some of the best acoustics in the nation. Throughout its history, noted authors have conducted book readings at the Bijou, taking full advantage of the theatre’s sound qualities. Early on it also made its mark by staging operas, musicals, orchestral concerts and comedy shows. As time went on the Bijou has hosted iconic artists and acts such as The Marx Brothers, Harry Houdini, Dizzy Gillespie, Dolly Parton, The Ramones, Art Garfunkel, to the Dave Matthews Band. The Lamar House Hotel was originally built in 1817 and modified in the 1850s. In 1909, the rear wing of the building was transformed into the Bijou Theatre, entered through a new lobby cut through the hotel building from Gay Street. Both the hotel and theater were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is believed to be the oldest commercially active property in Knoxville, and perhaps all of Tennessee. During the Civil War, the Union Army used the hotel as a hospital for its war wounded. Following the war, the hotel became the center of Knoxville's Gilded Age extravagance, hosting lavish masquerade balls for the city's elite. Let’s keep walking.
Wanna see a “mansion?” It isn’t your typical huge building with gold leafing and expensive chandeliers, but it is historic so if you’d like to see it, please continue down gay St and then turn left on East Hill Avenue. It’s on the first block there to your right and there’s a sign out front. Built in 1792, the Blount Mansion is located at 200 W. Hill Avenue. It is billed as “The Birthplace of Tennessee” and home to U. S. Constitution signer William Blount. Appointed by George Washington to govern the Southwest Territory, Blount shepherded Tennessee into the union as our nation’s 16th state. In addition to a family home, the wood frame dwelling also served as the territorial capital. It is the city’s oldest operating museum, opening in 1926. After you check it out, come on back here and turn left on Main Street. You will see a small obelisk and a statue of a rifle-toting man on your right.
Let’s talk about the Knoxville City-County Building. Both Knoxville and Knox County are the third largest population city and county, respectively, in the state of Tennessee. Knoxville has just under 200,000 residents, while Knox County has slightly less than half a million in population. At 526 square miles in size, Knox County, named after George Washington’s secretary of war, General Henry Knox, is about five times the physical size of Knoxville proper. The City - County Building, at 400 Main Street, houses the city government and the county government, including the Knox County Jail. It’s a large edifice, sitting alongside U.S. 11 and overlooking the Tennessee River. Standing 10 stories tall and containing over a half-million square feet of floor space, it was the largest office building in the state when it was constructed. Residents say their favorite aspect of the building is the drive through window of the Department of Motor Vehicles, perfect for such things as renewing your vehicle registration. If one has business indoors, however, they can enjoy the comfort food dished up between 7:30 and 3:30 at the City-County Café overlooking the river. Meet me at Walnut Street, up ahead.
Please turn right on Walnut Street, but take your time because I’d like to tell you about World’s Fair Park, which is located about three blocks northwest of here. Hosting the 1982 World’s Fair was a milestone in the history of Knoxville. Just prior to the fair, the Wall Street Journal called Knoxville a “scruffy little city.” It seems now like ancient history as Tennessee’s third largest metropolis today struts its stuff as a desirable destination in a state that’s already admired for its outdoor activities, craft-beers, and musical offerings. The fairgrounds and the subsequent World’s Fair Park had previously been a run-down railyard. Officially known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, or Expo 82, the fair ran for six months, with 22 participating countries and attracted over 11 million visitors to this city that, at the time, was home to a mere 175,000 residents. It was the second World’s Fair to be hosted in Tennessee, the first being Nashville in 1897. The two-remaining structures from Expo 82 are the iconic Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheater. The Sunsphere is a 266-foot-high hexagonal steel structure, topped with a 75-foot-high gold-colored glass sphere that served as the symbol of the fair and eventually of Knoxville itself. Today it houses offices and contains an observation deck with a 360-degree view stretching from downtown Knoxville to the Great Smoky Mountains. The open-air amphitheater plays host to a wide range of performances, including classical music, operas and, of course, country music concerts. Knoxville was awarded the fair owing to its achievements in energy research and development, spurred by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Tennessee…the main campus of which is located adjacent to the park. Students enjoy studying in the park, and as a place to walk around offering scenery and safety. On hot summer days, there is a set of dancing water fountains for children and the young at heart to run through…maybe to cool off during one of the park's festivals, such as the annual Asian Festival, drawing over 15,000 people. There is also a playground, and the grassy areas are a favorite for couples and families wanting to enjoy an afternoon picnic. World’s Fair Park is, as they say in Knoxville, one of those ways to “find your fun” in Marble City
Look for a sign on the building to the right that says “James Park House”. Did you find it? Andrew Jackson slept here. Okay, so the cachet of America’s seventh president having spent the night doesn’t confer as much prestige as that of George Washington, but it solidifies the house as being of historic note. Its foundation was built in the 1790s by Governor John Sevier, an American soldier, frontiersman, and politician, and one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee. The house itself was constructed in 1812 by James Park, an early mayor of Knoxville. After the Blount Mansion four blocks to the east, it is the second oldest building in Knoxville. The L-shaped house was a Red Cross workshop during World War I, while today it is the current headquarters of the Gulf and Ohio railways. Please head to the right on Cumberland Avenue.
Please turn left on Market Street, but make this a sloooooow stroll so I can tell you about one of my favorite things - Smokie's Stadium. It’s about 3 blocks away to the west. Baseball in Knoxville dates back well over a century, and the Tennessee Smokies have been a Double-A franchise since 1963. An affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, the Smokies are returning to Knoxville after two decades of playing in another county, 20 miles east from downtown. It’s not that the team hasn’t been successful in its far-flung location. There’s a league title in 2004, numerous playoff appearances and several division titles. It’s just that decision makers believe it’s time for the team to return to its proper home. A new $80 million facility will have the latest amenities in food service, signage and video scoreboards. A multi-purpose venue, the ballpark will host other events such as soccer matches and concerts. The team gets its name from the nearby Great Smoky Mountains that are often clouded in a hazy mist that, since the time of the Cherokee, is thought to appear like smoke. The team’s mascot is a bear, reflecting the fact that the Smokies contain the densest black bear population in the Eastern United States. As an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs the new Smokies multi-use stadium is modeled on the Wrigleyville neighborhood that surrounds Wrigley Field on Chicago's north side… an area that’s bursting at the seams with sports bars, unique pubs, restaurants, souvenir stalls, and baseball fans. Like a famed country song says, so long as there’s no Smokey Mountain Rain it’s “batter up!” at the new Tennessee Smokies ballpark.
It’s probably not too hard to tell which building here is the 14-story General Building. Constructed in 1925, it is the seventh tallest building in Knoxville. In 1988, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville's commercial history. The first three stories are covered with a rusticated limestone veneer. The roof is decorated with a terra cotta cornice. The bank lobby is the most elaborate interior room, consisting of arched ceilings and a second-story mezzanine with a balustrade. The general lobby contains marble floors and bronze-plated elevator doors. With 50,000 square feet of office space, its anchor tenant is First Bank based in Lexington, Tennessee, in addition to housing several foundations, a health care coalition, along with various financial specialists and real estate firms. Now let’s head to the park.
Charles Krutch was a Knoxville born photographer whose work can be found at the New York Museum of Modern Art. His brother Joseph was an author and professor of literature at Columbia University and his uncle was a noted 19th century painter of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Tennessee Valley Authority paid the independently wealthy Krutch, an aspiring photographer, $2,500 a year. He had previously been a photographer for the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Photographing dams and generators, sheet mills and munitions plants, Krutch played with shapes and shades as few other photographers had ever done. Some of his pictures looked like modernist paintings, dynamic studies in black and white. In a day when photography was barely considered a fine art, Krutch earned a reputation as an artist with a camera. Krutch retired from the TVA in 1954. He and his wife lived in a nondescript subdivision on the west side of town, but few of their neighbors guessed that this mild-mannered TVA employee was a millionaire. He died in October 1981, at the age of 94. Upon his death, Krutch bequeathed land to the city of Knoxville to create a quiet retreat in the downtown area that had previously been lacking in green space. Today Krutch Park sits one block south of TVA headquarters. Taking up almost half a city block, it contains a small waterfall, a stream flowing into a pond, and lots of trees, shrubs and flowers. During the spring and summer, it’s especially green and lush. The park also hosts a sculpture garden, where the figures are changed twice per year.
Well, that’s just about it for this tour. You probably recognize Market Square just ahead. Before I go though, I’d like to tell you about Chesapeake’s Seafood. It’s two blocks to the left on Union Avenue. Tennessee icon Dolly Parton once said “I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it!” The Queen of Country Music was making a play on words, but it would be easy to adopt a diet of seafood if living in East Tennessee despite it being 500 miles from saltwater fishing grounds. That’s because of Chesapeake’s— a celebrated seafood restaurant based in Knoxville. Never mind the distance from the fishing grounds of the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, or its namesake Chesapeake Bay, the seafood at Chesapeake’s is flown in daily, ensuring a freshness that’s hard to pass up. In 2019 the family-owned chain opened a new restaurant in Gatlinburg, not far from Parton’s hometown and her Dollywood theme park that is the biggest ticketed tourist attraction in the state. Chesapeake’s is a great place to indulge your appetite before or after visiting Dollywood as well as in downtown Knoxville after strolling the grounds of World’s Fair Park. The restaurants themselves are something to see, with their authentic Chesapeake Bay décor that features genuine nautical antiques and artifacts. Chesapeake’s West Knoxville location, a transformed industrial warehouse, uses soft blue lighting that creates a trendy, modern atmosphere. Combining this cozy, seaside ambiance with fresh crab cakes, shrimp, scallops, oysters and Maine lobster has made the Chesapeake’s chain an ideal spot for celebrating good food, good friends, and the good life in the Knoxville/ Great Smoky Mountains National Park area. And there you have it! I hope you had as much fun on this tour today as I did. Knoxville, Tennessee truly is a wonderful place. Marcia would love to show you even more of this fantastic city so give her a call at 865-659-7050. Thanks so much and have a great day!