We are reminded of early Knoxville history at every turn in our neighborhood.  Our earliest houses go back almost a century, and most of the rest are at least a half century old.  The cemetery, Talahi Park, the old street lights, and even some remaining blocks of concrete street paving remind us that this neighborhood – once a western outpost on an unpaved road called Kingston Pike – has watched Knoxville grow and change for many years.

Today it’s easy to sample this history.  A few electrons moving here and there, and you are instantly transported to times past.  For example, a brief history of Kingston Pike and Sequoyah Hills – and much more - is just a click away on the KP-SHA web page. With another click, we can read a more detailed Wikipedia history of Kingston Pike, a main artery west of Knoxville for more than 200 years.  The history of Our Fair City is also available on Wikipedia, and it’s a fascinating read.  

Too much reading?  How about some moving pictures?  The Knox County Public Library houses TAMIS – the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound.  Their collection dates back to 1915 with more than five thousand reels and videotapes of every sort you could imagine.  TAMIS has put 38 of these on Vimeo.com (https://vimeo.com/tamisarchive/videos/page:1/sort:date), and they offer a fascinating glimpse of early life in Knoxville.  Take a look at these, starting with a 1928 video of the fountain from the Minnich Family Collection.  

Sequoyah Hills fountain, circa 1928

Last run of “Old Fathful” in 1947

Christmas in downtown Knoxville, circa 1948

Cas Walker TV ad, circa 1959

By the way, if your family has any old movies that show life in early Knoxville, get in touch with Bradley Reeves at the Knox County Public Library.