Burwell Building (27)


602 South Gay Street

When it was built in 1907, as the Knoxville Banking and Trust Building at the corner of Gay and Clinch, on the original site of Blount College (which later became The University of Tennessee), it was the tallest building in Knoxville at a height of 166 feet and remained the tallest building until 1912. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Richards, McCarty, and Bulford of Columbus, Ohio, in the Second Renaissance Revival style.

After its iron work structure was completed, Maud the Mule, an essential member of the construction crew, was hoisted to a platform at the top of the Burwell Building to the cheers of thousands of onlookers. The animal had been given the name of Maud after a comic strip character, who kicked someone high into the air at the end of each strip.

In 1912, the Knoxville Banking and Trust Company ceased operation, and the Southern Railway Company established its main Knoxville ticket office in the former bank lobby. In 1917, the C. B. Atkin Realty Company bought the building and gave it the name “Burwell,” Mrs. C. B. Atkin’s family name. Atkin also purchased the additional land on which the Tennessee Theatre and an addition to the Burwell Building were built in 1928. In the early 21st century, much of the Burwell Building was converted into condominiums.

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