Vintage Properties Fund



Historic properties offer a unique charm and quality. Their craftsmanship, style, and detailing are timeless. The Vintage Properties Fund is integral to our organization’s mission to preserve, restore, and transform historic places. Since our first project in 1999, we are proud to have become a nationally recognized historic real estate program.

Utilizing our Vintage Properties Fund, a restricted revolving fund dedicated to historic property redevelopment, we target endangered properties and embark on renovations to save their unique architecture and presence in a neighborhood. Upon completion, new property owners take over and we have helped stabilize and improve a historic neighborhood.

Knox Heritage works with the City of Knoxville and neighborhood residents to find properties in need of restoration. Once identified, our Vintage Properties Committee and Board of Directors carefully study the property’s potential and the construction costs anticipated for the project. The Vintage Properties Fund finances the project and then that funding is replaced once the project is completed and sold to new owners. Knox Heritage attaches a preservation easement to the property before transferring ownership which prohibits demolition and requires proper maintenance and approval for design changes.


The Vintage Properties Fund allows Knox Heritage to accept property donations, purchase endangered historic properties, or purchase options on those properties. In some cases, it will allow Knox Heritage to stabilize and/or make improvements to purchased properties in order to increase their marketability. The properties will then be marketed to locate buyers who agree to preserve and maintain the structures.

Donate to this Fund

THE WILSON HOUSE, 3031 East Fifth Avenue

This beautiful home was built in 1912 for Frank C. and Mary Wilson. Frank was a Superintendent at Regal Manufacturing Company, a clothing/overall factory located on W. Jackson Avenue and later on State Street. Knox Heritage is renovating the home and will be seeking a new owner soon. Interested parties may contact us at 865-523-8008.


Knox Heritage and the City of Knoxville are working together to ensure a bright future for the culturally significant Lloyd Branson House. The house was originally built in 1922 for prominent Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson, but had been declared blighted by the City and recently included in the annual Knox Heritage Fragile Fifteen list of endangered historic places. Initial funding for the project will come from the Knox Heritage J. Allen Smith Endangered Properties Fund which was originally initiated with contributions from a private donor and the 1772 Foundation.

Enoch Lloyd Branson (1853–1925) was best known for his portraits of Southern politicians and depictions of early East Tennessee history. One of the most influential figures in Knoxville’s early art circles, Mr. Branson was a mentor to fellow Knoxville artist Catherine Wiley and is credited with discovering twentieth-century portraitist Beauford Delaney. He operated a popular portrait shop with photographer Frank McCrary on Gay Street and is responsible for the development of the neighborhood in which this home is located, serving as the planner and builder for many homes on the street. Originally named Rhode Island Avenue, the street name was changed to Branson Avenue by the City of Knoxville to recognize his cultural contributions.

Knox Heritage was able to purchase the home through the City of Knoxville’s Homemaker program which seeks buyers for properties needing significant renovation. The nonprofit preservation organization will transform the property into a beautiful three bedroom home and seek a new owner. Donations of design services and materials will assist with the project and a historic overlay will be added, ensuring the property will be a neighborhood asset for years to come. Educational workshops and tours will be held during the renovation.

WATCH – We have a video of before and after photos HERE.



A preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that protects a significant historic, archaeological, or cultural resource. An easement provides assurance to the owner of a historic or cultural property that the property’s intrinsic values will be preserved through subsequent ownership. Certain tax benefits may result for certified historic properties.

Knox Heritage currently holds several easements on historic properties and is prepared to assist with this process. Please review our Preservation Easement Program information packet. Additional information on easements may be found in this National Park Service publication or in this National Trust publication.

Please note that easements are legal tools defined by Tennessee State Law (and, if federal tax incentives are sought, by federal law) and the advice and assistance of a knowledgeable attorney, tax adviser, appraiser, and/or other professionals should be sought prior to using this tool. The National Trust offers a preservation easement Q & A that is helpful. For tax benefits associated with such easements, please review this information and refer to IRS guidelines.

To apply for donating an easement to Knox Heritage, please download and submit this Application for Preservation Easement.

Project Approval
If you own a property with an easement held by Knox Heritage, please be sure to submit an application for Project Approval.

For additional information on this program, please contact


Donating a property to a 501(c)3 historic preservation organization like Knox Heritage may be the best solution for saving the structure, protecting it and moving forward with revitalization efforts. Through this process, there may be a tax deduction for the value of the donation as well as reduced capital gains taxes if the property has appreciated substantially while under one ownership. There is assurance that the property will be protected with a preservation easement going forward (controlling exterior changes and prohibiting demolition). For current owners, a donation may offer timely relief from managing expenses involved with maintenance and ownership. Finally, preservation organizations like Knox Heritage can assist with finding a preservation-minded new owner who will commit to renovating the property and proper maintenance going forward under our organization’s professional observation. Every property is unique and comes with a different story and a different solution for preservation. The goal of Knox Heritage is to assist with these transitions and produce a positive outcome for all parties involved.

To apply for donating a property to Knox Heritage, please download and submit this Application for Property Donation.

For additional information on this program, please contact