HISTORIC DOWNTOWN

SEVIERVILLE

STREETSCAPE PROJECT

© 2016-2019 BY VAUGHN & MELTON CONSULTING ENGINEERS

PROJECT ENGINEERS: VAUGHN & MELTON

PROJECT CONTRACTORS:  BLALOCK CONSTRUCTION, INC.

DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR

SEVIER COUNTY COURTHOUSE 125 Court Avenue

Built during 1896, Sevier County Courthouse is an excellent example of Victorian architecture. It's brick walls are 13 inches thick, and its limestone block founda­tion is of local materials obtained from the McCown Farm near Sevierville and carried to the courthouse site by horse-drawn wagons. The traditional four-sided Seth Thomas clock is located in the tower. The metal ball on top of the tower was made by Sevierville's tinsmith George G.M. Nichols. The building was designed by McDonald Brothers; an architectural firm from Louisville, KY. Contractor C.W. Brown of Lenoir City lost so much money on the job that he was forced into bankruptcy. The Sevier County Courthouse is perhaps the county's most treasured landmark.

DOLLY PARTON STATUE 125 Court Avenue

Created by nationally-known artist Jim Gray, The six-and-a-half-foot statue was erected to honor Sevierville native Dolly Parton, an interna­tionally acclaimed singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist. Situated atop a mountain stone chosen to represent Dolly's Smoky Mountain roots, the iconic rendering depicts Dolly playing the guitar. In 1985, Gray began with a 10-inch proposed model. Dolly has never forgotten her roots and considers this statue her most enduring accolade.

PUBLIC SQUARE Main Street and Court Avenue

The Public Square was created in 1856 after the third Courthouse burned. The tragedy prompted the county commissioners to procure one square acre of land '·extending an equal distance from the center of the street each way" and build a new brick courthouse in the middle of the square. The courthouse was used until the present one was built in 1896. The public square remained active until 1948 when US 441 and 411 were widened. The Public Square was renovated in 1986 as a symbol of how the old Public Square was the hub of activity for over a century.

FORKS OF THE RIVER CEMETERY Riverside Drive

The graves of many of the town's founding fathers and pioneer settlers including Isaac Thomas, Spencer Clack, and James McMahan are buried in this old churchyard. The Forks-of-the-Little-Pigeon Baptist Church was never rebuilt after the congregation disbanded during the Civil War and the building was desecrated by marauding soldiers. The cemetery was restored in 1976 and re-named Forks-of­ the-River Cemetery Park. The additional renovation took place in 2009.

OLD HOSIERY MILL BUILDING 248 Bruce Street

Built during 1920, Loudon Hosiery Mill employed many Sevier County residents for almost 40 years. Using bricks made nearby and burned on the grounds, J. F. & N. McMahan Construction Company, owned by skilled African-American brothers, built the building. Producing nylon, cotton, and silk hosiery, the mill employed ten men and 75 women. Some of the females were as young as 13 or 14. The mill closed in 1954 The building is currently an office complex called Mill Corner Place.

MURPHY COLLEGE 226 Cedar Street

Murphy College opened in 1892 as an auspice of the Methodist-Episcopal Church with three teachers and a principal. At the dedication ceremony, Col. James C. Murphy and his son William C. Murphy announced they would contribute $1000. They named the school in his memory when Col. Murphy died the following year. The subscription school offered courses from primary grades to college. Dr. E.A. Bishop arrived in 1912 to serve as the president and led the expansion of the institution. The college moved to a new site on Park Road in 1923, and its last class graduated in 1935. A short-lived Sevierville Business College moved in the building after the college relocated. The Sevierville Elementary School used the building for several years. Currently, the renovated building is the headquarters for the Sevier County Board of Education.

DR. ASHLEY W. TROTTER HOUSE 217 Cedar Street

A beautiful representation of Victorian style, Dr. Ashley W. Trotter built the three-story clapboard structure in 1892. Artisan Lewis Buckner, a nineteenth-century African-American craftsman, created the gingerbread trim gables and butterfly wings on the sides of the bay windows, as well as the dumbbell dowels on the exterior facade. The interior is an exhibit of geometric designs and floral carvings. The house is currently a private residence.

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 500 Belle Avenue

Designed by R.F. Graf & Sons, First Presbyterian Church was completed in the spring of 1917 at the cost of $3,992.69. The Ladies Aid Society was instrumental in raising money for the pews. In 1946 an annex was added. This church is the oldest church building in the city and is still in use today. Local craftsman William May designed and built the stain-glass windows, combining fresh and exciting visual images with enduring traditions of the faith.

KEEBLE-STAFFORD HOUSE 415 Grace Avenue

James R. Keeble, a professor at Murphy College, began construction on the five-room house in May 1908. The house contains elaborate trim work and transoms. Three fireplaces and two flues kept the house warm during its early years. In 1913, Clay Loveday, co-owner of Thurman & Loveday Livery Board & Hitch Stable on the public square purchased the home. In 1920, Thomas Stafford and Inez bought the property for which they and their family would own for seventy years. Stafford was a local railroad engineer and businessman.

GODDARD-TEAGUE HOUSE 307 Prince Street

Elmer F. Goddard, manual arts professor at Murphy College purchased the vacant lot from M.P. Thomas in 1906 and soon constructed the elaborate house that he designed. Initially, the house consisted of a parlor, dining room, kitchen, entrance hall, and several bedrooms. All rooms measure approximately 15 x 15 feet. A circular staircase led to the upstairs. There were several fireplaces built in the corner of each room. Murphy College purchased the house in 1917 and used it as a girl’s dormitory. The next owner, Judge Ben Robertson, did extensive remodeling during the nineteen years he owned the house–including removal of the circular staircase. Currently, the house is the private residence of David and Mary Alice Teague.

J. REED WADE HOUSE 300 Prince Street

Built by Mayor J. Reed Wade and his wife Hattie Murphy Wade, the colonial-style, clapboard structure has small porches and large white columns with a fireplace in every room. Wade operated Sevierville Mills and Ice Company for several years. He served as Mayor of Sevierville from 1945 to 1946. The last member of the Wade family to reside in the house was their daughter, Frances Ostergren, a local folk artist.

 

GRAY HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST 212 Prince Street

In 1899, D. Emert Gass constructed a planing mill on this property which produced the lumber for the houses built on Prince Street and neighboring streets. W.B. Emert purchased the property in 1912 and dismantled the mill and built two identical houses. M.V. Emert bought the house in 1915 and sold it to J. Ed Emert and M.P. Thomas the following year. Alton O. Delozier purchased the house in 1920. He and his family lived there until 1928. Mayor Robert Howard and his wife Mary acquired the house in 1931. The Howard family owned the property for sixty years.

PINES THEATRE 103 Joy Street

In 1899, D. Emert Gass constructed a planing mill on this property which produced the lumber for the houses built on Prince Street and neighboring streets. W.B. Emert purchased the property in 1912 and dismantled the mill and built two identical houses. M.V. Emert bought the house in 1915 and sold it to J. Ed Emert and M.P. Thomas the following year. Alton O. Delozier purchased the house in 1920. He and his family lived there until 1928. Mayor Robert Howard and his wife Mary acquired the house in 1931. The Howard family owned the property for sixty years.

 

DAVIS HOTEL 212 Court Avenue

In the early 1920s, Margaret Bowers Davis, widow of James R. David, purchased a lot and built Davis Hotel, a two-story building constructed of red brick. Hot and cold running water was installed in each of the twenty-two rooms, and there were four bathrooms. The first floor consisted of a parlor, dining hall, and lobby. In 1935, the Rawlings family purchased the hotel and refurbished it into Rawlings Funeral Home. The funeral chapel was added later in the 1950s.

DWIGHT AND KATE WADE HOUSE 114 Joy Street

 

Completed in the Autumn of 1940, the Dwight and Kate Wade house is a near replica of the Garden Home at The Town of Tomorrow exhibit of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Designed by Vera Cook Salomonsky, the Wades purchased the plans for this home while on their honeymoon. Salomonsky designed the house with a unique combination of Art Moderne and Colonial Revival styles. The two-story dwelling features parapeted end facades; a gambrel roof covered with slate; twin chimneys on each end facade. The side porch is supported by Doric columns, in the shape of a half-circle. Dwight Wade, Sr., a prominent Sevierville civic leader and merchant, lived in the house until his death in 2008 at age 101.

SEVIERVILLE POST OFFICE 167 Bruce Street

Perhaps the best example of Colonial Revival architecture in Sevier County is the Sevierville Post Office which was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1940 for $75,000. The building was designed by federal architect Louis A. Simon and Neal A. Melickwas the supervising engineer. The Post Office is based on a standardized architectural plan for federal post offices that were constructed by the WPA throughout the country between 1934 and 1943. The building was constructed by the J.F. & N. McMahan Construction Company, notable African-American brick masons from the county. The building is currently used as the Sevier County Heritage Center.

JACKSON MAGNOLIA 136 Bruce Street

On September 13, 2013, a formal ceremony was held to plan a cutting from Senator Howard Baker’s Magnolia. This tree had grown from the Andrew Jackson Magnolia at the White House and given to Baker by President Ronald Reagan upon Baker’s retirement as chief of staff. The Jackson Magnolia stands to the southwest of the White House, just west of the South Portico. It was planted there from a sprout taken to the White House by Andrew Jackson that came from his wife Rachel’s favorite tree at the Hermitage. A cutting was given to Judge Rex Henry Ogle who donated the sapling to the City of Sevierville.

JAIL BAR STORM DRAIN COVER  Bruce Street

The storm drain cover located at the back of the graveled alley (Across the street from the gazebo) is one of the two remaining grates that were crafted from salvaged prison bars from the old jail. In 1856, a horrific fire destroyed most of the buildings in downtown Sevierville including the courthouse and jail. Reputedly, the fire began when Sheriff Lemuel Duggan was said to have turned over a basket of chips on the hearth of the open fireplace while building a fire. The solitary prisoner on the night of the fire was burned to death. From the jail, the fire spread to the nearby courthouse and other adjoining buildings. The additional remaining grate is located on the north side of the courthouse in an alley just East of Lera Court.

 

  • Bruce St.

OGLE BUILDING 103 Bruce Street

The first business to occupy the Ogle Building was the Purity Drug Company. On December 8, 1923, the First National Bank opened in the building. The bank did not survive the Great Depression. There are no supports to the floor joists except for the walls, and the joists stretch across the 26-foot floors. The wood used in the building was notable because “it came out of the finest tract of yellow pine lumber ever cut in Sevier County.”