The Foundry (57)
747 World’s Fair Park Drive
The Foundry was constructed in 1865 by the Welsh brothers David and Joseph Richards, their brother-in-law Daniel Thomas, and H.S. Chamberlain. Their firm became well known for its manufacture of square-head nails and railroad spikes. In 1868, the Knoxville Iron Company was chartered and became the majority stockholder in Chamberlain, Richards & Co. When the Knoxville Iron Company expanded and moved to a new mill on Tennessee Avenue in 1930, the foundry building was sold to the L&N Railroad.
For several decades, House-Hasson Hardware Co. leased the foundry as a warehouse, until a 1979 fire gutted the building. The structure subsequently underwent a $400,000 renovation prior to the 1982 World’s Fair, during which it was much loved as the Strohaus. Architectural elements from city landmarks were incorporated into the renovated building, including Southern maple strip flooring from archways of the McCallie Elementary School in the historic Fourth & Gill neighborhood and antique windows from the Brookside Mills building. In the intervening decades, it has been used primarily as a space for special events and private functions. What remains is just a small part of what was at one time a sizeable industrial compound.