Jan 11 2023
04:43 pm
By: R. Neal

The old South Knox Bubba homeplace at 1151 Sevier Ave. is gone. The city took it to install a roundabout at Island Home / Foggy Bottom (previously Lincoln St). I was alerted by my little sister whose son drove by and noticed it was torn down.

I'd had an arrangement with Rogero administration officials to get a final walkthrough before it was demolished. But the project was delayed, they have moved on, and life goes on.

We did get a walkthrough a while back courtesy of my sister who knew the final owner, who is also from South Knoxville. It had been a rental for a while, and was in poor condition inside. It had good bones, though, and had undergone some previous exterior upgrades. With some fixing up it would have been a fine addition to the housing stock in Old Sevier. (Which is now going for ridiculous prices.)

Our parents moved here from Byrdstown TN (the county seat of the smallest county in TN) around 1955 so my older sister Janie could attend Tennessee School for the Deaf. I was maybe six months old.

They rented an upstairs apartment in a house on the 400 block of Sevier Ave while my Dad (a WWII combat vet and ex-POW) went to business school on the GI Bill to learn accounting. After school he got a job and my Mom went to beauty school. When she finished school they started looking for a house to buy. As it turned out, there was a house for sale just down the street at 1151 that already had a beauty shop in it.

They bought it in 1956 and my Mom ran the beauty shop (Doris' Beauty Shop) for 30+ years. A little later after they bought it, little sister Pam came along and Mom worked until the day she went into labor. Somewhere along the way, Dad built an addition (himself) to the back of the house to expand the beauty shop to two stations and a separate entrance.

We eventually moved to the suburbs, but Mom kept running the beauty shop and they rented the rest of the house to UT students. When little sister grew up, they converted part of the house to a women's clothing store called Doris and Daughter.

A while back I had asked my Mom about the history of the house. She said that the property next door at 1147 (Mrs. Fox's when we lived there, then the Civil Air Patrol HQ and now the Landing House restaurant) was originally built by fellow named Turner (she couldn’t remember his first name, but I believe it was John). He was a prominent home builder who built some fine homes around Knoxville. He also built the houses on either side (1141 and ours at 1151) for his sons, who were in business with him. One son, Charles Turner I believe, was still living at 1141 when we were there. The houses appear to have been built around 1945.

Anyway, there are so many memories and stories to tell about living and growing up on Sevier Ave. I hardly recognize it now. Especially now that the old home place is gone.

I couldn't find many photos of the exterior from back in the day. Most are from the interior. The snowy picture shows the mailbox on the front porch and milk bottles, and you can barely see the porch swing. The next one shows it later as it was a few years before it was demolished. The third one shows it gone.

Treehouse's picture

Could go in a book

That was a nice house and sad about its demolition. The Knoxville History Project is working on a book about South Knoxville and would love to hear from you to get some stories about that area and people.

Factchecker's picture

That's a neat family story.

That's a neat family story. There's still a Turner Homes that claims to have been in business for over 50 years, so maybe that's the same family that built in that area.

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