Thursday, February 5, 2009

The scruffy little city grows up

Difficult as it is to believe, Knoxville wasn't always the glittering metropolis that stands before you today. No, it took some time and effort before the "scruffy little city" took off. The new book Historic Photos of Knoxville faithfully documents Knoxville's development, from its early days before the Civil War up through the latter part of the 20th century.

The photos in the book are divided into four sections: from the 1850s to the end of the 1800s; 1900 to WWI; WWI to WWII and the 1940s through to the late 1960s. All the photos, even the more modern ones, are in black and white. This helps the book to maintain a consistent feel throughout.

There are introductions and photo captions throughout the book by William E. hardy. While there are many historic photos of Knoxville available, they were scattered among various collections. This book is a wonderful attempt to gather photos from the various sources.

As a resident of Knoxville, it was fascinating for me to see how the city has grown and developed, recovering from such devastating events as the Civil War and the "Million Dollar Fire of 1897" and continuing to grow and prosper. The photo on the cover of the book, of Knoxville's Gay Street, vividly evokes a time gone by, with street cars and bustling activity. Although Gay Street suffered years of decline and neglect, it has recently experienced a resurgence, and today it is as bustling as the photo depicts (without the street cars).
Final Verdict for Historic Photos of Knoxville: Four Gherkins, for being a beautiful look back at how Knoxville became the third largest city in Tennessee

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