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Buck Toms Park History

Buck Toms Park is named for William Perry “Buck” Toms (June 27, 1884-January 30, 1965) who was a management expert and civic leader. Toms was born in Knoxville, the son of Capt. Samuel and Eliza (Curry) Toms. He was educated in public schools and attended the University of Tennessee, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. Toms graduated with honors and received a degree in law in 1907. He worked for several local businesses including Knoxville Woolen Mills, Fulton Sylphon Company, Magnet Mills of Clinton, and George G. Scott and Company, and also the Seven-Up Bottling Company of Jacksonville, FL. In addition, Toms had an interest in real estate. Buck Toms never held public office, but he held a deep interest in taxation and local government. In 1923, he helped to write the city charter that established the city manager form of government in Knoxville.

In 1894, Toms joined the YMCA and became its president in 1913. One of his favorite activities was being a Boy Scout leader. In 1909, Toms organized a troop, before scouting had been established in the United States. He later became a commissioner. The Boy Scout camp on Watts Bar Lake was named Camp Buck Toms in his honor. His sister, Lillian Toms, gave the scouts the old family home at 600 E. Fifth Avenue. Toms was a member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he taught Sunday school. Established in 1952, the Toms Foundation placed his entire estate in trust for charitable, educational, and historical purposes. As a result of this arrangement, his collection of English seventeenth and eighteenth century silver and antique furniture was put on public display in Crescent Bend, at the Armstrong-Lockett house, located at 2728 Kingston Pike. Buck Toms was married briefly to Bettye McNutt, a florist. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery. His last residence was at 5507 Holston Drive.His survivors were cousins, all living away from Knoxville; one was Robert Toms, an actor of New York.

Buck Toms made a gift to the city for this property in the Lonsdale community which is now Buck Toms Park.

 

 

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