Answers from Our Experts (1)
It began as a frontier outpost and Knoxville is steeped in history. From country music to Civil War relics, there is plenty to see in East Tennessee. Here are the five best historic sites in and around Knoxville:
1. The Governor William Blount Mansion. Home of the first governor of Tennessee, William Blount, this 1792 mansion is a National Historic Landmark. Blount was one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. Though it may seem small by our standards today, the Blount Mansion was a mansion in the frontier days.
2. Crescent Bend. Also known as the Armstrong-Lockett House, this 1834 estate is famous for its three acres of Italian-terraced gardens extending from atop the bluffs down toward the riverbank. It houses a noteworthy collection of 18th-century English and American furniture and art.
3. Mabry-Hazen House Museum and Civil War Bethel Cemetery. This house was a headquarters for both Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War — at separate times, of course. More than 1,600 Civil War soldiers and 50 Union prisoners are buried in the adjacent Bethel Cemetery. The original artifacts on display include china, silver, crystal and antique furnishings.
4. Confederate Memorial Hall. Built as a private home in 1858, this stately antebellum mansion was the headquarters of Confederate General James Longstreet during the 1863 Siege of Knoxville. Now it houses an excellent Confederate museum with a collection of Southern and Civil War relics and a library of Southern literature.
5. James White's Fort. James White was a Revolutionary War soldier and pioneer who founded Knoxville in the late 1700s after he was given a 1,000-acre grant. The fort he built on this land later became the capital of the territory.