There’s something new on the landscape of Knoxville. The Walnut Street Garage is currently having three large banners installed with historical photographs from the McClung Historical collection. This project was a community effort and will make the garage stand out in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.
“This is a great opportunity to turn what we could politely call a functional part of the downtown landscape into a real showcase for Knoxville history and heritage,” said Bill Lyons, Deputy to the Mayor and the Chief Policy Officer for the City of Knoxville.
“Seeing these landmark photographs at such an impressive scale will help connect our present to our past. It shows us how much has changed over the years but also how much we have preserved, and the importance of protecting our city’s unique character.”
The three images are of the historic Market House taken from Union Avenue, the exterior of Peter Kern Co. Confectioners, and a Vestal-bound streetcar on Gay Street. These are just three of more than 23,000 items preserved and made accessible through the McClung Collection’s Digital Collection.
“The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library, is honored to have furnished the photographs for this large-scale display,” says Adam H. Alfrey, curator at the East Tennessee History Center. “It is always exciting to see Knoxville embrace and celebrate its rich history, and with the mounting of these images, no doubt many will be prompted to connect with our past.”
The City of Knoxville began discussions about history-themed decorations for the large garage wall last year, with a committee of downtown stakeholders, preservationists and public arts specialists. Visit Knoxville agreed to be a partner in the effort. The three banners, which measure a total of 223 feet in length and 58 feet in height, are being installed this week and will be in place for this week’s July First Friday.
“We were happy to be a part of the discussion for the outward facing wall of the garage. These images depict a time in Knoxville’s history that should be celebrated,” stated Kim Bumpas, President Visit Knoxville. “Knoxville is celebrating its 225th this year and what better way to keep telling stories about our amazing past as we move forward.”
The Walnut Street Garage has free public parking on weeknights when entering after 6 p.m. and free parking on weekends.