Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Since I'm up on my historic preservation horse again, I figured I might as well ride it around for a few more posts. So, next stop, the Pickle Mansion in the Fort Sanders neighborhood near the University of Tennessee.

This once-glorious mansion was built in 1889 in the Queen Anne style by then-Tennessee State Attorney General George Pickle. When it was whole and well, it had a hipped roof, ornately-topped turrets, a wide wrap-around covered porch, and beautiful brickwork. Like many of the grand old Victorian homes remaining in Fort Sanders, it had been carved up into student apartments and left to a genteel decay.

Then in 2003, a horrible fire gutted the roof and top floors; luckily, there were no human casualties. But Knoxville lost a grand dame that day. The previous owners were denied a demolition permit by the city. The current owners, who purchased the mansion in 2005, pledged renovation and have stabilized the structure, but have not progressed to the exterior as yet.

I'm hoping for a future where I won't see the sky, even as lovely and blue as it is in this photo, through lonely architectural bones when I walk by. I'm hoping also that I won't see a vacant lot, or another cinderblock apartment complex squatting like a toad by the curving driveway.


Bibi said...

Lovely home...and I love the last name "Pickle'!! I wonder if it was originally something like Piquelle? :<)

Jim said...

I bet it was a great home. I love the size of the porch. Hopefully the owners will be able to start renovating it soon.

Babooshka said...

It is such a majestic building. I do hope it doesn't bite the dust and re surface as a car park (vacant lot) as happens all to often in the UK.

Knoxville Girl said...

It was quite remarkable, even as an apartment house.
Bibi, I'd met some Pickels in the area who say the name was originally French and pronounced Piquelle.