As a newcomer to Knoxville and a public historian, I’ve made it my goal to visit all of the 7 historic homes of Knoxville. I like to start learning about a new city by delving into its past! So far I’ve spent a festive evening at the Mabry-Hazen House and a lovely afternoon tour at Blount Mansion.
Blount Mansion was the home of William Blount, a signer of the United States Constitution and first governor of the Territory of the U.S. South of the River Ohio. Construction began on the house in 1792 shortly after the signing of the Treaty of the Holston. It was made of sawn lumber to meet Mrs. Blount’s requirements unlike most of the houses in Knoxville at the time, which were crafted out of rough logs or hand-hewn timber.
William Blount hailed from North Carolina where he served in the North Carolina House of Commons and as paymaster for troops in the Continental Army. He also served in Congress under the Articles of Confederation and as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Blount was a land speculator, which is how he ended up west of the Appalachians. From accounts, he was a much respected frontiersman and skilled negotiator with the native tribes in Tennessee.
I thoroughly enjoyed my tour at Blount Mansion led by a very knowledgeable docent. I was really thrilled to learn a few new facts about colonial kitchens! Let’s play a little historical guessing game:
What do you think this is?
Did you figure it out? It’s a cookie mold!
How about this?
I had no idea when I saw it. The docent had to fill me in…it’s a meat rotisserie!
Start your tour at the visitors’ center open Tuesday – Friday 9:30-5:00PM and Saturday 10:00-2:00PM. There is a delightfully corny video and didactic timeline to educate visitors about the time period, the house, and William Blount. Tours begin at the top of the hour; tickets are $5 for children, $6 for seniors, $7 for adults.