Arnstein Building (47)

505 Market Street

This seven-story Neoclassical building with Renaissance Revival detailing is said to be the first steel frame “skyscraper” built in Knoxville – the city’s tallest building when it was built in 1905. It was built by a successful merchant, German-Jewish immigrant Max Arnstein (1858–1961) and designed by the prominent New York City architectural firm Cleverdon & Putzel, best known for the Astor Building and many Victorian-era commercial and residential buildings in Manhattan.

The M.B. Arnstein Company became one of Knoxville’s finest retail stores, famous for Irish linen and various imported items such as jewelry, lingerie, and other “exclusive” best-quality goods. Mr. Arnstein closed the store in 1928, due to advancing age, and retired to New York, where he lived in the Buckingham Hotel until 102 years of age.

In 1934, the building was leased as office space for the new Tennessee Valley Authority. Other businesses have occupied the space over the years, notably Whittle Communications in the late 1980s.

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