Watch a video about our mission above.
The Knox Heritage mission is to protect Knoxville’s unique character for future generations by preserving, restoring, and transforming historically significant structures and places.
Historic preservation is a powerful community philosophy with proven educational, environmental, cultural, aesthetic, social and economic benefits. It’s simply how our community utilizes assets of quality and character to the fullest potential in order to foster economic development and enrich the quality of life. We like to think of Knox Heritage as protecting and raising awareness of what is beautiful and irreplaceable in East Tennessee.
Established in 1974 as a non-profit historic preservation organization, Knox Heritage is chartered by the state of Tennessee and governed by a board of directors. Membership in the organization is by annual dues, which are tax-deductible, and is comprised of individuals, businesses, and organizations which recognize the importance of historic preservation.
Preserve. Restore. Transform.
More than a tagline, our mission is fulfilled in the following primary ways
Knox Heritage actively preserves through its stewardship of two landmark properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Historic Westwood and the Airplane Filling Station. Our organization is proudly headquartered at Westwood, a gift from the Aslan Foundation, which is also one of the city’s premier historic house museums.
Knox Heritage also actively preserves by managing preservation easements currently protecting historic structures in Anderson, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, and Washington Counties. In addition, our staff assists local developers and property owners with federal rehabilitation tax credits and national register nominations.
Knox Heritage restores blighted properties and assists with neighborhood stabilization and revitalization through its impactful Historic Properties Fund. Since 1999, our organization has restored homes in areas such as Fort Sanders, Parkridge, Old North, Chilhowee Park, Fourth & Gill, and Edgewood Park. Restoration work has included a residence designed by George Barber, a LEED-certified home, and the last remaining structure affiliated with artist Lloyd Branson. The Historic Properties Fund is a traditional “revolving” fund that is restricted specifically to the preservation of endangered properties and is designed to replenish itself after properties are restored and sold to new owners. Knox Heritage combines financial resources from the Fund with grants and donations to make such projects feasible.
Knox Heritage works to transform how people think about, relate to, and interact with historic places through education, advocacy, and community engagement.
Our educational programming includes a free monthly Preservation Network series, special classes for Realtors, an annual preservation conference, the popular Downtown Walking Tour brochure, other neighborhood tours, teaching resources, and an online preservation resource center.
Advocacy work has included lobbying for federal funding to repair historic sites to establishing a state rehabilitation tax credit in Tennessee. We also lead the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance, a preservation network connecting sixteen counties in the region around Knoxville.
Our popular annual Summer Suppers along with special Behind the Scenes Tours for our members engage the community with historic places in unique, fun and memorable ways.
Equity and inclusion for all people ensure the long-term success of our city and its neighborhoods. Knox Heritage is committed to supporting and engaging diverse members of our community through preservation education, advocacy, and technical assistance. Westwood, the historic home of Knoxville artist Adelia Armstrong Lutz, actively seeks opportunities to share its artistic legacy in a way that informs, inspires, and encourages artists from all backgrounds, following in the tradition of the former Nicholson Art League.
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution – Excellence in Historic Preservation Award 2021
Greater Federated Women’s Clubs of Tennessee Brian Patty Award – Historic Westwood 2020
National Wildlife Federation – Certified Wildlife Habitat – Historic Westwood 2019
East Tennessee Historical Society – Preservation Award – Lloyd Branson House Restoration 2017
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman’s Award – Alexander Inn Guest House Rehabilitation Project 2016
Tennessee Historical Commission – Merit Award for Historic Preservation – Historic Westwood 2015
Knoxville Mercury – Top Knox 2015 Winner – Top Nonprofit Community Group 2015
Keep Knoxville Beautiful – Orchid Award – Historic Westwood 2014
U.S. Green Building Council – LEED for Homes – Platinum – The Green House – 1011 Victorian Way 2012
East Tennessee Historical Society – Award of Distinction – Historic Downtown Walking Tour Brochure 2013
Metropolitan Planning Commission Excellence Award – Restore America Project (renovation/restoration) 2008
Metropolitan Planning Commission Excellence Award – Knox Heritage – Neighborhood Civic Achievement 2004
Metropolitan Planning Commission Excellence Award – Knox Heritage/Inner City Ventures Program – Neighborhood Civic Achievement 2000
Metropolitan Planning Commission Excellence Award – The Houses at 2036 & 2039 Jefferson Avenue (renovation/restoration) 1997