|Office of Neighborhoods
|Old Mechanicsville Neighborhood Interest
CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION
1317 Hannah Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37921
Date: The 2nd Thursday of Every Month
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Odle & Young Architects Office
Our purpose is to promote community-wide interest and concern for the problems of residents of the Old Mechanicsville community and adjoining communities to the end that (a) sickness, poverty, crime and environmental degradation may be lessened: (b) racial tensions, prejudice and discrimination, economic and otherwise, may be eliminated. Our purpose is also to expand the opportunities available to residents and groups to own and operate business enterprises in economically depressed areas.
Bylaws not provided.
About Our Neighborhood
McGhee’s addition, later to become known as Mechanicsville, was a thriving suburb of Knoxville in 1868. This suburb was named for Charles McClung McGhee, a wealthy landowner from Monroe County who had moved to Knoxville in 1860 to take advantage of the business opportunities provided by the city’s busy industrial activity. McGhee’s addition was inhabited by the new working and middle classes. Most of Knoxville’s heavy industry was located near this area.
From 1850 to 1890 people in this area were largely employed by the railroads, the Iron Company and various mills throughout the area. Bar iron, nails, railroad spikes as well as ornamental fences were manufactured. Many of these fences still line the streets of Mechanicsville. Mechanicsville’s 2,000 citizens were annexed to the city in 1883. In 1883 Mechanicsville, the Ninth Ward of Knoxville contained six grocery and general stores. There was also a greenhouse, a new high school, a Methodist, Christian, and Welsh Congregational Church.
By the turn of the century, the population of this portion of the city increased greatly. Fire Station No. 5 was built to service the area in 1909. It was built in the Neo-Classical style, which was typical of the period. Fire Station No. 5 is now the oldest remaining fire station in the City. It was designed for horse-drawn fire equipment.
Mechanicsville began to decline shortly after the turn of the century. The more affluent families moved to new suburbs that had begun to spring up throughout the city. Absentee landlords allowed housing deterioration and vacant lots unattended while taxes remained unpaid. In the 1950’s construction of Interstate 40 demolished many fine homes in Mechanicsville and caused eventual closing of many businesses and churches in the area.
In 1985, the Mechanicsville Task Force appointed by the city administration prepared a report on the “Mechanicsville Historic Area” which recommended significant revitalization of the neighborhood. The City of Knoxville’s Community Development Department began rehabilitating existing structures and supporting the construction of new home through various programs, and as a participating partner of “Mechanicsville Project Proud.”
Many unfit structures have been demolished; Moses School and Fire hall #5 have been rehabilitated and reoccupied. Homes are being restored by new owners as well as long time residents. Knoxville Heritage, Inc. has bestowed at least 10 awards on these restoration efforts. In 2004 OMNI, Rohm and Haas, East TN Foundation and many other community businesses and organizations developed green space in Old Mechanicsville, designated to us from the City of Knoxville in 1995, into a beautiful garden oasis called Olde Mechanicsville Park located across the street from historic Fire hall #5.
Now in the 21st century Mechanicsville is a thriving community which is home to many businesses, churches and families. OMNI, along with many others, has brought Mechanicsville back to its original intent. A wonderful place to live, work and play.