Martinis at the Mansion: Cheers to William Blount!

Gayle Burnett enjoying a martini — I think it was a bourbon martini! — and a cigar in the cigar garden!

I love a martini. Especially if it’s for a good cause!

So “Martinis at the Mansion” was the perfect place for us last Thursday. It was a fundraiser for Blount Mansion — “the birthplace of Tennessee” — and it was a low-key good time. Blount Mansion is located in downtown Knoxville at the intersection of Hill Avenue and State Street, a few blocks from our condo.

Around 1792, work began on Blount Mansion which was to be the home to William Blount, one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. Blount had been appointed by President George Washington to govern the Southwest Territory, which Blount shepherded into admission to the Union as our nation’s 16th state, Tennessee.

In addition to a family home, this fine wood frame dwelling also served as the territorial capital. Blount Mansion is Knoxville’s only National Historic Landmark and the city’s oldest operating museum, opening in 1926.

Over the years, we’ve been to quite a few fun parties at Blount Mansion, the building referred to by the Cherokee as “the house with many eyes!” Click here for a little more fun facts about Blount Mansion. But scroll through this post to see more recent fun times!

The good folks from Blount Mansion staffed the event and PostModern Spirits provided the martini makings – and other potables! Balter Beerworks provided brewskies. Catering was by Tootsie Company. Molly Jo Events pulled the whole thing together and the Old City Buskers did their usual great job on music.

There even was a “cigar garden” operated by Smoky’s Tobacco and Cigars.

Ed Shouse with Nicole Sims, left, and Jill Buell of William Blount Risk Advocates, one of the event sponsors.

David Hearnes, executive director of Blount Mansion, with his son, Jonathan, and wife, Hallie.

Charles Stallings and Carrena Bush of Home Marketing Group, an event sponsor.

The Old City Buskers were terrific, as usual! See a little bit of their performance at the end of this post.

Alan Carmichael and Knoxville City Council Member Seema Singh.

Brian Pittman and Dorothy Stair.

These beautiful wood pieces up for auction were turned from a tree that was removed from the historic Mabry-Hazen House.

Nikki and Eric Elliott.

Tyler Janow, left, and Anthony Wilson.

Old fashioned wheelbarrow! (Hmm. They’ve improved a lot, haven’t they?)

Sara Phillips and Jim Grossen.

Marsha Hollingsworth and Michael Combs.

Table set with vintage tableware.

Mary Ellen Sweeney and Bill Reda, right, sampling the wares with the representative of Smoky’s Tobacco and Cigars.

JoAnne Dohn in a pretty pose.

Sisters, from left, Lisa March, Kelly Cordle and Jennifer Lee, the development director for Blount Mansion.

Delicious passed snacks included, from top, brisket sliders, smoked salmon cakes and mac-and-cheese brickettes.

Leslie Schuller and Randy Kerns.

John and Ann Parker, the longest tenured docents at Blount Mansion. No wonder he looks so comfortable in that hat!

George Washington, a martini and a dollar bill! (I have no idea!)

Carol and John Sheridan.

Bill and Lori Sliwa.

Ellen Capito, left, and Dorothy Stair.

Our friend Michael Jordan, who used to be development director of Blount Mansion before moving to another of our favorite non-profits, WUOT-FM, dropped by and posed with David and Jonathan Hearnes.

I guess folks did the same things for fun back then that we do today: drink wine and play cards!

All in all, a very relaxing evening remembering Knoxville’s start.

Here’s a sample of the Old City Buskers:



Filed under: Downtown, Events, Historic preservation, Knoxville. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Martinis at the Mansion: Cheers to William Blount!

  1. Georgiana Vines, on September 23rd, 2023 at 7:07 pm said:

    I’m missing a lot when I’m in San Francisco but having fun along the Pacific.

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on September 23rd, 2023 at 9:41 pm said:

    Everything is a trade off! Look forward to seeing you when you get back!

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