Blount Mansion (www.blountmansion.org) is the first stop on the bus tour. This home began construction in 1792 for William Blount and his family. Most of the materials for building this structure were brought in from North Carolina, except the glass, which was brought in from Virginia. The mansion continued to go through changes until its last addition around 1820. It now consists of the main house, a west wing, east wing and a kitchen. William Blount served as Governor of the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, which led his office, "The Governor's Office,' to be used as a law office as well.
Mabry-Hazen House Museum (www.mabryhazen.com) is next on the list. A beautiful Victorian - Civil War era home built in 1858 and sits atop Mabry's Hill in Knoxville. This home was occupied by three generation of the same family from its erection in 1858 until 1987. Having housed the family for so long, it came to accumulate the "largest original family collection in America." All of which are displayed throughout the house.
Down from the Mabry-Hazen House lies Bethel Cemetery. If you are a huge history buff or maybe cemeteries just fascinate you, take a walk through the Civil War era resting place of more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers in addition to other war casualties.
Crescent Bend is the last stop of the first tour and boasts beautiful gardens for visitors to enjoy. Terraces and fountains highlight this particular piece. The home was built in 1834 and was once the main centerpiece of a 600 acre stretch of farmland. As you tour the property, 18th century English and American decor and artifacts will greet you at every turn. In addition to being part of the Historic Homes of Knoxville, Crescent Bend also helps to make up part of the Kingston Pike Historic District.
The first stop on the second tour will be James White's Fort (www.jameswhitesfort.org). This fort belonged to James White, Founder of Knoxville. He built the home himself in 1786 on 1,000 acres of land that were granted to him for his service in the Revolutionary War. He built up several acres of his land with many buildings. By 1791, White decided to reserve part of his land for inhibition. This land was later sold in lottery drawings. Once the land became occupied, Knoxville, who White named after Secretary of War Henry Knox, was bred to life. It wasn't until 1970 that the fort received much needed restoration and was eventually opened for the public's interest.
Ramsey House (www.ramseyhouse.org) is the next destination. This is a house built in 1797 by Knoxville's first builder, Thomas Hope for one of the first families to settle Knoxville, the Ramsey Family. Colonel Francis A. Ramsey, head of the household, was a founding trustee of Blount College. This college is still in existence today (with many updates and additions, mind you) but we all know it as the University of Tennessee, home of the Volunteers.
The final stop of the day will be to Marble Springs (www.marblesprings.net), overseen by the Governor John Sevier Memorial Association. This was home to John Sevier, who served as the first Governor of Tennessee after it became a state in 1796. The main house is the only original building on the land. Other buildings have been added over the years to portray period time pieces and to hold reenactments. Several actors are on site to give visitors an idea of the way of life in the 1700s.
If history is a major interest to you, especially local history, then this is the perfect opportunity to learn more. This particular bus tour is during the Dogwood Arts Festival and is a one-day only tour. The morning tour will be from 9:00 AM to Noon. The afternoon tour will be from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Each tour is $20 per person.
Unable to go that day? No problem. Each facility has a schedule of hours throughout the year. Just visit each website to find out more. And tickets can be purchased at any individual location, or at the Knoxville Visitor's Center.