Since its founding in 1974, Knox Heritage has informed people about the community and economic benefits of historic preservation and become a nationally-recognized leader in the movement.
The work we do in the community is varied. We acquire blighted houses that once were the worst examples of neglect and restore them as attractive homes, improving historic neighborhoods. We team with public and private partners to secure funding for development projects that contribute to the renaissance of our region. We call attention to some of Knox County’s most endangered cultural and historic assets, encouraging owners to preserve these unique places for the next generation. And we help build a broad network of those who value historic preservation throughout the community.
The preservation of Historic Westwood is one of Knox Heritage’s signature accomplishments. Built as a “wedding promise” in 1890 by John Edwin Lutz for his wife, Ann Adelia Armstrong Lutz. Originally sited on 12 acres along Kingston Pike, it was designed by notable architects Baumann Brothers in the grand Richardsonian Romanesque style so popular in the late 19th century. Historic Westwood is one of the treasured houses known as “The Three Sisters,” along Kingston Pike which also includes Crescent Bend and Bleak House. Adelia Lutz was Tennessee’s first professional female painter and the house is filled with her beautiful artwork.
While placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the property was never protected by local historic zoning or a permanent preservation easement. The Aslan Foundation purchased the iconic property and donated it to Knox Heritage. Now the home is protected into the future and saved from development, as well as creating a resource for education and preservation advocacy throughout the East Tennessee region. We thank our capital campaign donors who have made this possible. The Knox Heritage offices are located at Historic Westwood and the house and grounds also serve as a venue for private events.
The Airplane Filling Station
Originally constructed in 1931 as a gas station by the Nickle brothers, the design was intended to persuade passing automobile traffic to stop there instead of traditional stations. The marketing-savvy brothers based the design on Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis. The gasoline had stopped pumping by around 1970 and after that, the structure was used for other businesses, such as a liquor store, a produce stand, a bait-and-tackle shop, and eventually a used car lot. However, by 2002, the structure was covered in kudzu and years of neglect had rusted away much of the metal cladding. The Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association (AFSPA), an all-volunteer organization, established itself as a nonprofit and spent several years restoring the structure to its former glory. In 2018, the AFSPA gifted the iconic airplane-shaped building on Clinton Highway to Knox Heritage. Read more HERE.