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Indian Mound

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Explore Knoxville Through Historic Driving Tours

The mission of the Knoxville History Project (KHP) is to research, preserve, and promote the history and culture of Knoxville, Tennessee. Through accurate research and engaging programs, KHP tells the city’s stories, focusing on those that have not been previously told, and those that connect the city to the world. KHP’s stories, programs, and publications educate and help residents and visitors understand the city’s past and its complicated but dynamic heritage, and also to inspire an appreciation for the city’s culture.

Learning about a city’s history makes one more aware of its geography and its buildings, leading to a better sense of place. KHP’s downloadable driving tours of Near-West, North, East, and South Knoxville provide opportunities for residents to discover and appreciate the many historical landmarks found throughout Knoxville that can be seen easily from a vehicle, or explored on foot.

The New-West Knoxville tour starts on Kingston Pike at the foot of the Strip on Cumberland Avenue, at one of the city’s oldest parks, Tyson Park, and proceeds west along the pike. The route then meanders through Sequoyah Hills to Lyons View Pike, and loops around to Bearden via Northshore Drive before heading back eastward along Kingston Pike to Western Plaza. The last, optional section, also along Kingston Pike, contains many interesting places of worship and buildings of fine architecture. The total driving distance is approximately 8.5 miles from Tyson Park to Western Plaza.

Download driving tours at

On Cherokee Boulevard, in the heart of Sequoyah Hills, look for the prehistoric Indian Mound in the median near the intersection of Kenesaw Avenue. It was built centuries ago by a pre-Cherokee Native-American culture. One of two notable Indian mounds in Knoxville, it’s more eroded than the one on UT campus off Neyland Drive. Nearby, both on and off the boulevard you can find several unusual concrete features, remnants of the planned town-center community, Talahi, dating back to the 1920s. The panther fountain adjacent to Papoose Park combines crypto-Egyptian and art-deco themes. The delightful circular pond, on the boulevard itself, featuring frog fountain heads is also worth stopping to see. (Photo by Shawn Poynter)

With 207 riverfront acres, several athletic fields, and miles of walking trails, Lakeshore Park is one of Knoxville’s most popular public parks. It covers the old campus of Eastern State Mental Hospital, known as Lakeshore in its later years, but in its early days the property served as Lyons View Asylum. Little of the old hospital remains except for a portion of the 1886 administration building, the castellated brick building on the hilltop, and a postwar modernist chapel down the hill, pictured here, which serves as a charming events venue, complete with a delightful stained-glass window.  (Photo by KHP)

Wallace Chapel, on Homberg Drive off Kingston Pike in the heart of Bearden, is an African Methodist Episcopal church built in 1930, on the former spot of a dance hall destroyed by fire. Still active, the church is the most obvious relic of the Brickyard, a Black community where dozens of workers for an early 20th-century brick factory lived. The community outlasted the factory for decades; the last residents left in the 1980s. (Photo by KHP)

Everly Brothers Park, at Kingston Pike and Forest Park Boulevard, honors Phil and Don Everly who lived in Knoxville for less than three years, but it was here that they discovered rock ’n’ roll. The duo began performing (mostly on WROL radio), and made connections with Chet Atkins, who helped them combine their harmonies with driving guitar work to become some of the most influential rock pioneers of the 1950s. The park, which opened 2019, is still a work-in-progress, and features quotes in marble from famous icons who found inspiration in the Everly Brothers’ classic songs, including Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Elton John, and Graham Nash. (Photo by Shawn Poynter)

Learn more at Donations to support the work of the Knoxville History Project, an educational nonprofit, are always welcome and appreciated. 

  • Everly Brothers Park
  • Lakeshore Park
  • Indian Mound