urban_renewal (2006-21)

Another historic home goes mobile

241 E. Glenwood Ave.

On the Road Again

by Matt Edens

Just a few months after an Old North Knoxville homeowner and homegrown real estate developer trucked a two-story Victorian across Central, those pesky preservationists were at it again. This time it was Knox Heritage, the local preservation non-profit, who took this 1924 Craftsman Foursquare at 241 E. Glenwood Ave., originally slated for demolition due to the massive I-40 project through downtown, and shifted it several yards to the east onto a neighboring vacant lot, turning the house to face Glenwood.

The house, despite its Glenwood address, never faced the street before because this recent last-minute reprieve from TDOT’s bulldozers is actually its second. Eighty-two years ago when it was built, the house had an Eleanor Street address. It’s now the sole survivor of some two-dozen handsome homes on the last two blocks of Eleanor that disappeared beneath I-40 40-plus years ago. Scores more were torn down along Third Avenue, a name that now graces a short section of what was originally the alley between Third and Eleanor. (One ghost of Third Avenue still stands, a two-story Victorian backing up to the aforementioned alley, seemingly feet from I-40’s westbound lanes. I have no idea how it squeaked through this latest road widening.)

This house, having dodged the bulldozers twice, is definitely a survivor, inside and out. While the exterior has been clad in vinyl siding (soon to be removed), the interior still has an incredible amount of original detail, including hardwood floors, unpainted woodwork and a fireplace—testament to the fact that, until TDOT purchased it for right-of-way, the house has remained in one family’s hands since 1936. The elderly lady who’s called it home for most of her 80-some-odd years came out for the move on May 1, happy that the house will live on in something other than family photographs and fond memories.

Re-sited and safe—for now— from TDOT, the project is the first for Knox Heritage’s J. Allen Smith Endangered Properties Fund, established to facilitate alternatives to demolition of historic buildings. Through property donation, options and outright purchase, the idea is to connect endangered historic properties with new owners committed to their preservation. In this case, Knox Heritage plans to stabilize the house and bring the shell up to code by replacing the roof and installing new electrical, plumbing and heat and air system and, of course, a brand new foundation and basement roughed in and ready for the buyer to fit out as finished space (boosting the house to roughly 2,500-2,800 sq. ft). Then, after protecting the house with an H-1 Historic Overlay (it is just outside the boundaries of the Fourth and Gill overlay), the house will be sold to a new homeowner who can customize the restoration to suit his or her taste.

241 E. Glenwood Ave.