Live like a Victorian in Fountain City
by Matt Edens
If someone thinks â“big Victorian house,â” a handful of Knoxville neighborhoods typically come to mind: Fort Sanders, 4th and Gill, Old North Knoxville. They can be found a few other places, too: Mechanicsville, maybe, or possibly Parkridge. However, while many of the houses in those â’hoods, along with Oakwood/Lincoln Park, Old Sevier, and Vestal, are Victorian vintage, they tend to be smaller cottages rather than 3,000 square foot ramblers.
Isolated examples can be found scattered across the city and county. Most are the occasional farmhouses that have been surround by later suburbia. One, an incredible stone and brick house on Speedway Circle, was actually trucked out to the suburbs from its original Gay Street location. The old Knox County town cores of otherwise suburban communities such as Powell and Concord also contain a few.
Then thereâ’s Fountain City. Once a watering hole and summer getaway, the community has its roots as a Gilded-Age resort. Originally a short train-ride outside the city limits, it was a cool, green oasis for wealthy Knoxvillians seeking refuge from the cityâ’s sweltering summers. A few traces remain: the duck pond, Hotel Avenue (named for the resortâ’s hub: the long gone Fountain Head Hotel) and a fair number of Victorian houses hidden among the hills and hollers beyond Broadway.
I first stumbled across this stunning example years ago while exploring around the duck pond, looking for traces of old â“Fountain Head,â” as the community was first known before the opening of a post office in 1890 prompted the rechristening to avoid confusion with another, older Fountain Head in Sumner County. Built some nine years later, this house on Holbrook Drive has to be among the finest of Fountain Cityâ’s Victorians. And, with four fireplaces, loads of original woodwork and hardwareâ"even working transomsâ"and a gorgeous staircase, it is certainly one of the best preserved as well as most lovingly restored.
Outside, the double-lotâ’s mature trees, lush landscaping, and large deck complete with a hot-tub, hark back to Fountain Cityâ’s origins as a convenient retreat. There are also several heirloom rose bushes planted by one of the early owners.
2711 Holbrook Dr.
3,116 sq. ft. (+700 sq. ft. cottage)
(+ 2 bdrm/1.5 bath cottage)
Contact: Stephanie Romer
Century 21: 382-5054
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