Wow. There was certainly something for everyone last night at the preview party for the East Tennessee Community Design Center’s Urban Home and Garden Tour, which is set for today and tomorrow. (Moxley Carmichael is honored to be a sponsor.)
The party started in The Holston on Gay Street, built in 1913 as the tallest building in Knoxville and as home to Holston National Bank. With hors d’oeuvres by Nancy Kendrick and volunteers serving very ably as bartenders, the party was held on the ground floor. Dr. Bill Snyder, the Tennessee Theatre’s organist and chancellor emeritus of the University of Tennessee, provided lovely piano music.
The highlight of the party, to me, was when Lisa Shirey, who has leased the space, described the business, Clinch River Brewing, that she and her husband plan to open there. Not only will it be a brewery, but also a restaurant serving seafood and having a full bar and an outdoor eating area. I can’t wait for that!
Historian Dr. Bruce Wheeler also made remarks and described The Elliot, which partygoers got to tour as a sneak peek of this weekend’s activities.
The Elliot, at 201 W. Church Ave., was built in 1907 as Whitefield Apartments, a combination office and residential building. Later turned into a long-term stay hotel, Wheeler related how reporters at the News Sentinel, then located across Church Avenue from it, referred to it as the “Empty Arms” for the men who stayed there — and the women who came and went!
After the tour of The Elliot, we returned to The Holston and were allowed into the bank vault, a fascinating space in the building’s basement.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets to the Urban Home and Garden Tour, click here. They only cost $30 and include eight locations. This year’s selections feature homes that also have outdoor spaces, thus the “garden” reference. It’s a self-guided tour, so you can set your own pace. And, perhaps, stop for drinks and nibbles between stops. That’s what I plan to do!
Soon, it was off to tour The Elliot. We were in the first tour group.
See everybody on the tour tonight and tomorrow!
Until then, here’s a snippet of beautiful music from Bill Snyder: