Old Rosemont School — Bristol, Tennessee

This building served as the Rosemont Elementary on Bristol, Tennessee’s north side from 1930 until the early 1980s. The three story building was constructed in 1929 and consists of 32,640 square feet.
Former Rosemont Elementary - Bristol,  TN Once this building was replaced by the local school district it was sold to the Tri Cities Christian School which operated here from 1984 until 2009. Former Rosemont Elementary - Bristol,  TN
Since 2009 the building has sporadically served as a community center. More often though, the building has been the subject of vandals.
Former Rosemont Elementary - Bristol,  TN The building is currently for sale. Former Rosemont Elementary - Bristol,  TN

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Knoxville College — Knoxville, Tennessee

This was a visit a long time in the making.  Longer than it should have taken.  I’ve been fascinated with this campus for a several years and finally took the time to visit several weeks ago.

Knoxville College roots can be traced to a mission school established in Knoxville in 1864 by R. J. Creswell of the United Presbyterian Church to educate the city’s free blacks and freed slaves.   This school initially met in the First Baptist Church building (which at the time was located on Gay Street) before moving to a permanent facility in East Knoxville in 1866.  In spite of general apathy from the city’s leaders and threats from poor whites, the school’s enrollment gradually grew to over 100.  In addition to black students, the school also had many white students until 1901, when Tennessee passed a law forcibly segregating all schools.  That same year Knoxville College finally received a charter from the State of Tennessee.  Six years later, the school established the Eliza B. Wallace Hospital, which served a dual purpose of training nurses and tending to the health needs of the local black community. This proved invaluable during the city’s Influenza outbreak of 1918.

In 1980, eight buildings on the Knoxville College campus were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district for their role in minority education. Many of the earliest buildings were constructed using student labor, student-made bricks, and lumber donated by alumni. The district includes the following buildings:

  • McKee Hall, the oldest building on campus, originally built in 1876, largely rebuilt in 1895 following a fire. The building is named for the Reverend O.S. McKee, who had established the first school for African-American children in Nashville in 1862. This building currently houses administration offices.
  • The President’s House, built in the late 1880s. The house was originally built of wood, but brick siding was added in 1905.
  • Wallace Hall, built in 1890 as an orphanage. This building is named for Eliza B. Wallace, the school’s principal of female students, 1877–1897.
  • Elnathan Hall, built in 1898 following the destruction by fire of the original Elnathan Hall, and altered in 1905 and 1971. This building has served variously as a women’s dorm, administration building, and classroom building.
  • Two Faculty cottages, 1005 and 1009 College Street, both built in the style in 1906.
  • McMillan Chapel, built in 1913, designed by Knoxville College alumnus, William Thomas Jones. Along with church services, the chapel served as the campus’s primary performance venue. Notable guests who have delivered speeches at the chapel include George Washington CarverCountee CullenW. E. B. Du BoisJesse OwensWilliam H. Hastie and Jackie Robinson.
  • Giffen Memorial Gymnasium, built in 1929.

In 2016, the preservationist group Knox Heritage placed the Knoxville College Historic District on its “Fragile Fifteen,” a list of endangered Knoxville-area historic properties.

Beginning in the 1970s, Knoxville College began to struggle financially, leading to a gradual decline. In 1997, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools withdrew Knoxville College’s accreditation. Enrollment dropped precipitously and the school’s financial situation became dire.  As enrollment plummeted, the school’s debt skyrocketed and it was soon unable to pay its faculty or electric bills. Throughout the rest of the 1990s, as enrollment plummeted, most campus buildings were shuttered and abandoned, and most degree programs were discontinued.  On June 9, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency seized control of the long-shuttered A.K. Stewart Science Hall to conduct an emergency clean-up of toxic chemicals that the college had improperly stored in laboratories;  In April 2015, the school announced it was suspending classes for the Fall 2015 term in hopes of reorganizing. Enrollment had dwindled to just 11 students, and the college was struggling to pay back a $4.5 million loan from 2003 and more than $425,000 to the federal government for the Stewart Science Hall cleanup.   In May 2015, the school announced classes would resume in the Fall 2016 term.  That never happened.

In September 2016, the City of Knoxville demanded that Knoxville College make repairs to fourteen of its buildings within 90 days or face condemnation. City crews subsequently boarded up the buildings. The Knoxville Fire Department responded to between four and five fires at abandoned buildings on campus in 2016, and estimated that since the buildings began falling into disuse after 1997, they had responded to twenty or thirty such fires there.

Knoxville College -- Knoxville, Tennessee  Today most of the campus sits abandoned, in an advanced state of disrepair. Most buildings are open to vagrants and vandals. This has caused severe damage to the buildings. The former college center has been set on fire twice. Since early 2018 The College administrative offices are back on campus again, occupying The college Annex which is next to McMillan Chapel. Plans have been made to renovate McMillan chapel and the Alumni Library. This is scheduled to take place in 2019.   Knoxville College -- Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville College -- Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville College -- Knoxville, Tennessee The Campus of Knoxville College
The Campus of Knoxville College The Campus of Knoxville College
The Campus of Knoxville College

On The 1st of July 2018 Knoxville College posted on its website that it is again enrolling students for its fall 2018 semester.   According to the school’s website that semester began on Tuesday September 4.    There is no information about classes offered, nor the process for admissions to the college, leading one to think the new semester never actually began.

Limestone Railroad Depot — Limestone, Tennessee

Limestone Depot -- Limestone, Tennessee Can’t really find a lot of history about this building beyond the basics. Limestone Depot -- Limestone, Tennessee
The building was built sometime in the 1800s by the Southern Railroad. (later Norfolk Southern) I haven’t pinpointed an exact date, but there was a depot in Limestone before the civil war. I have found sources who claim the Limestone Depot was destroyed twice during the war.
Limestone Depot -- Limestone, Tennessee Comparing the shots I took Saturday with some that are posted on Flickr that were taken in 2013, the last 5 years have been very rough on this building and it has went down hill very fast.

Brookside Elementary School — Sullivan County, Tennessee

Brookside Elementary School was located in the Bloomingdale community of Sullivan County, Tennessee just north of Kingsport.
Former Brookside School -- Bloomingdale, Tennessee Sullivan County has been prone to school consolidation over the past several years. These consolidations have not came because of declining population, but mostly due to annexation by the city of Kingsport. In 2009 this specific community, Bloomingdale had 5 schools operating as part of the Sullivan County schools. Now there is one elementary school (K-8) and one high school which itself has became center of consolidation discussions for the better part of the past decade. Former Brookside School -- Bloomingdale, TN
When Brookside closed at the end of the 2011/12 school year there were 233 students enrolled. Those students were moved to Ketron Elementary a couple of miles away the following year.
Former Brookside School -- Bloomingdale, TN

One Last Visit: Sears In Their Final Days at Fort Henry Mall

Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN
Can we all just agree right off the bat that I am just a big weirdo? A big, sentimental, nostalgia obsessed, incredibly handsome weirdo? As more and more Kmart and Sears closings have been announced over the past 12 months I have raced over the Midwest and Southeast trying to document these stores and give them a footnote in a very small chapter of a minute subject of our human existence. None of the stores, save for the Kmart in Corbin is or was more dear to my heart than the Sears at Fort Henry Mall.
Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN
Just after it was announced that this store would be closing i went over and visited and wrote up a blog entry covering the history of the store. That entry, along with photos from the visit can be found by clicking  on this link.

Sears — Fort Henry Mall — Kingsport, Tennessee
Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport TN The Sears at Fort Henry Mall will close for good at the end of the business day on Sunday March 26th. Sears -- Kingsport TN
Sears -- Kingsport TN Sears -- Kingsport TN
Sears -- Kingsport TN
At the time of this visit, with only three days left in business the attached auto center had already been closed for business and the signs removed.
Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN
The Package Pick Up area was busy with people picking up fixtures that they have bought from the store.
Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN If I was a betting man I would bet that this spot could very well become home to the tri cities area’s first Dunham’s Sports store. (although if I had my way it would become home to the areas first At Home store). Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport, TN
Hull, the company that recently purchased Fort Henry Mall appears ready and willing to do what it takes to reinvigorate the mall and have stated changes are coming to the mall as early as this summer. The company (Hull) also seems to have a knack for filling vacated mall anchor stores with Dunham’s or TJ Maxx.
Sears -- Fort Henry Mall -- Kingsport TN

College Grove, Tennessee

College Grove is an unincorporated community about 25 miles to the west south west of Murfreesboro on US 31A in Williamson County, Tennessee.
College Grove, TN
Williamson County was formed in 1799 and College Grove was one of the earliest settlements in the county. In the 1880s, College Grove had “100 residents, with three cotton gins, two corn and saw mills, two general stores, and a wagon maker

Loy Memorial Methodist Church — New Market, Tennessee

This church is located in the New Market community of Jefferson County, Tennessee about 20 miles north east of Knoxville.
Former Loy Methodist Church -- New Market, Tennessee
The church was organized and built in 1908. In 2016, 108 years after the church opened its doors, the building began a new life as an art gallery known as the Gray Dove Studio.