John Shearer: 3 Historic Buildings Razed At UT Campus

Saturday, January 5, 2013 - by John Shearer

Chattanooga area alumni of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville who have not been to campus lately might notice some changes around the area of the University Center.

The reason is that three historic buildings – an old apartment building and two former homes -- were recently knocked down at the corner of Volunteer Boulevard and Cumberland Avenue.

The land is being cleared to make way eventually for a large new Student Union to replace the University Center that has been there since the 1950s.

Even students who have been at home since exams ended in early December might be surprised to find a big pile of debris near the corner upon their return.

All three buildings were originally private residences but were later taken over and used by the university.

The largest building, Aconda Court, which was also the last to be torn down, had opened in the early 1920s as a 30-unit apartment building. It once featured a nice central courtyard facing Cumberland Avenue and what is now the law school complex, but had served as various UT offices in recent years. 

That building was on the corner of Volunteer Boulevard and Cumberland Avenue.

Just south of it on Volunteer Boulevard in the direction of the Tennessee River/Fort Loudoun Lake was Temple Court. It was built as a home in 1907 but was converted into an apartment building a short time later.

It later became a men’s and then women’s dorm before most recently housing the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, the MARCO Institute, and Lock and Key Services.

Just south of it was another former home that had been built about 1927. It had been a UT home management practice facility in the mid-20th century before becoming the first Black Cultural Center on campus.

On the south side of it is another former home that had served as the residence of industrialist Weston Fulton and was later the UT student hospital. Most recently, it had been the campus’ counseling center.

It is being used by the Rentenbach construction firm building the Student Union but will be torn down along with the old University Center when construction on the second phase of the Student Union begins in 2014.

The first phase of construction on the Student Union is currently under way just south of the current building.

The razing of the three structures was criticized by the non-profit historic preservation group, Knox Heritage, but university officials said students requested a large student union and the campus has limited space for expansion.

Jcshearer2@comcast.net


Chattanooga Books Available By John Wilson

John Wilson, former Hamilton County Historian, has written two volumes on the early families of Hamilton County and also books on Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain, as well as editing books on Chattanooga's railroads and the Stokes and Hiener photo collections. Railroads In And Around Chattanooga , featuring Chattanooga's intriguing railroad history, has 69 chapters and covers ... (click for more)

Thousands Of Items From Chattanooga History Headed To UTC

Chattanooga’s history is moving into the UTC Library. More than 7,600 objects, almost 14,000 photos, and a huge number of text and paper items are being packed for the trip to their new home.  Among the items, originally intended for the Chattanooga History Center are more than 100 years of personal and family papers, business records, photographic materials, ... (click for more)

Young Woman Suffers Serious Injuries In 30-Foot Fall At Quarry At Greenway Farms

A young woman was seriously injured on Wednesday night  when she fell approximately 30 feet from a bluff at the the Greenway Farms quarry in Hixson.   Some kayakers were paddling in the quarry shortly after  8 p.m. when they saw the woman fall to the ground below. They immediately went over to the victim and called 911. The Chattanooga Fire Department ... (click for more)

Walker County Taking Out Another Loan To Deal With Debts Left By Bebe Heiskell Administration

Walker County officials said they are having to take out another loan to deal with debts left by the Bebe Heiskell administration. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has called a special meeting for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the commissioner's office in Lafayette. The agenda includes a $4 million tax anticipation note from Lafayette Bank, which stepped in to help the new administration ... (click for more)

CPS Should Have A Manned 24/7 Presence In Every County

This week something became abundantly clear to me. The Department of Child Protective Services in the state of Tennessee, or at least in Hamilton County, are asleep at the wheel.   Early yesterday afternoon local news stations broke the news: "Animals Removed from Soddy Daisy Home."  What the news station either didn't know, or didn't report, was that the children of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Heroes Gather On July 14

Oliver North, whose journey as American patriot has not been an easy one, never lost hope. He once admitted he lied to Congress under oath, was found guilty of three felony counts after he followed the direct orders of his superiors, and then endured the wrath of the ignorant before the ACLU – of all sources – had the charges vacated. The former Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps ... (click for more)