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Historic West Knoxville home being restored to former glory

5:26 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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Salvation for an historic Knoxville property is on the horizon.

Until recently, most folks didn't even know this house located at 9320 Kingston Pike existed.

"We call it the Kennedy-Baker-Walker-Sherril house which is representative of all of the families that have lived in that house," said Kim Trent of Knox Heritage.

It was built in 1849. The property changed hands a few times in the past hundred and fifty years or so, and has been abandoned for the last decade.

"It was sold to an out of town developer and part of the negotiation on the rezoning was that they would protect the house with historic zoning and restore it for reuse. Unfortunately that didn't happen," said Trent.

Knox Heritage has been working for 8 years to find a way to save the house. When the property was cleared for construction, the public took notice.

"Once those trees were taken down, our office started getting a lot of calls so we were letting folks know that we were trying to work out a solution and now we're thrilled," said Trent.

Knoxville developer Bill Hodges and his daughter, Catherine, stepped in to save the old house.

"You can look around and see the potential. It was at one time a beautiful home and we're excited to restore it," said Catherine Hodges.

"It's a labor of love for the two of them. They love historic structures. They understand how to do construction. They understand how to do retail and office development, so they were really like a gift when they turned up," said Trent.

The work so far has been to stabilize the structure. It has a new roof and and work to patch leaks and stabilize the walls is underway.  The interior work will start when construction permits are issued.

The Hodges plan to turn the once spacious house into office space. For them, it's more than just a business deal.

"We will make a profit off of it. You have to, but ultimately my father and I ventured together because it was a passion project," said Hodges.

For Knox Heritage, it's a victory in their mission to save Knoxville's history.

"We really think it's going to be a beautiful, high profile location in West Knoxville that everyone will appreciate seeing be reused," said Trent.

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