City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Terminal Building Fire

Featured Article

Shoebox Collection

The Knoxville History Project Continues its Series on Little-Known Photos Submitted by Locals

At the nonprofit Knoxville History Project we are always on the lookout for old images for our Knoxville Shoebox digital collection. If you have interesting photographs, from any era, we’d love to hear from you so we can preserve the visual history of Knoxville and make them available for researchers of the future. Please contact us at 865-337-7723 or email Learn more at

Ray’s and Fay’s Best Friends

Ray and Fay have fallen sick after eating lots of unhealthy foods. Billy Blue Bird must fly away to get help from all their friends. One by one, healthy foods, fruits, and vegetables run and walk from far and wide to come and help their friends Ray and Fay feel better. This previously unpublished story from the Beck Cultural Center archives was written and illustrated by artist and teacher Ruth Cobb Brice, circa 1940s. With contributions by Rev. Reneé Kesler and Jack Neely. Available through KHP at and at Beck Cultural Exchange Center.


In the 1950s, the City’s new Promenade project was a bold attempt to modernize—and to some extent suburbanize—downtown shopping. The innovation promised to make shopping at places like Kimball's, Woodruff's, Fowler's, and J.C. Penney as easy as it would be in any suburban strip mall. Rear access to the Gay Street stores from the parking lot behind is still there, of course, but now a multi-story garage. State Street is on the right. All the buildings on its east side are gone. Much of that area is now the site of the Marble Alley Lofts. Shared by Dan Proctor.

Gay Street

In the 1950s, the city also attempted to create a better experience for shoppers by adding a long, covered awning above storefronts along Gay Street. This photograph, presenting what looks to be an early morning view looking north from the 400 block toward the Sterchi Building in the distance, was taken by the City Fire Department as it battled a fire at the Terminal Building in 1974. The awnings, erected on both sides of the street, creating a tunnel-like effect, affording shoppers some protection from the elements every day, as well as at special events like the annual Christmas parades. Shared by Knoxville Fire Department.  

Terminal Building Fire

The Union Terminal, a stylish marble-front building at Gay and Wall, was a multi-line bus station combined with a shopping arcade, stretching back to State Street. A Manley and Young design, it was one of downtown’s busiest places until the 1950s, when the major bus lines abandoned it to build elsewhere. It was underused before it burned in 1974. Captured here, onlookers on the corner of Gay Street and Wall Avenue watch firefighters in action, likely after the worst of the fire was over. Shared by Knoxville Fire Department.

City Fire Department at 100

In 1985, a University of Tennessee marching band paraded south along Henley Street with Church Street Methodist in the background. The event marked the centennial of the City Fire Department’s incorporation as a professional entity. Of course, the city had been battling fires since Knoxville was founded in 1791, but before 1885, firefighting was managed on a largely volunteer basis. Shared by Knoxville Fire Department.  

  • City Fire Dept. at 100
  • Gay Street
  • Ray and Fay book
  • Terminal Building Fire
  • Promenade