Daylight Building (51)
501 – 529 Union Avenue
The Daylight Building was completed in 1927. Built by Benjamin H. Sprankle, an influential Knoxville real estate developer, it joined a two-block area on Union Avenue that composed Sprankle’s real estate empire for more than 50 years. Initially, the Daylight housed retail space on the ground floor and offices on the second floor, including the studio of Robin Thompson, a prominent local photographer. By 1934, the Daylight was primarily occupied by the offices of the newly formed Tennessee Valley Authority.
From the Daylight Building came the oversight and design for many of the dams and power plants constructed by TVA, as well as its land reclamation efforts, all of which changed the face of the Tennessee Valley region. It is the most physically intact building representing the early, formative years of TVA. The building housed TVA’s Adult Training Education program, the Soil Erosion and Reforestation office, much of the Engineering Staff, and some internal services until the current tower complex was finished in the early 1980s.