This photo, taken from very near the same point as the Wall Avenue photo, shows the 400 block of Gay Street as it looked when reconstructed after the catastrophic 1897 fire. An icon on top of the taller building in the background is a stone phoenix, symbolizing the builder’s resilience after the disaster, still the worst fire in Knoxville history. The building with the stone bird on top was known for a time as the Phoenix Building, but by the mid-20th century was better known simply as Fowler’s Furniture.
In the 1990s, developers set out to renovate the empty building for upscale condominiums, but in 1999, a fire on the top floor threatened to scuttle the project. After their well-publicized travails, they chose to market the building as the Phoenix Building. They found out only later, when looking into its potential for historic tax credits, that its original name had been the Phoenix.