Knoxville, Home of the Sunsphere

By Ralphine Major

Since 1982 it has been a landmark along Knoxville’s beautiful skyline. The big, shiny ball sitting high in the air atop a pedestal is one of the most recognized symbols of the 1982 World’s Fair. Postcards, pictures, and tiny replicas of the structure were sold during the fair. One floor of the Sunsphere was home to a restaurant. After the fair, Knoxville hosted the Miss USA Pageant. One of the opening scenes on the televised program showed the reigning Miss USA standing on top of the Sunsphere!

My thoughts trail back to a time before construction began on the site that would become World’s Fair Park. I worked one summer as a college intern in the late Congressman John J. Duncan’s Knoxville office which was located in the United States Post Office/Federal Building. Every day after class I walked from the Humanities Building on The University of Tennessee campus up to the Federal Building on Main Street. My route went up Cumberland Avenue. As I recall, Bradley’s Steakhouse was on the left. I went passed Church Street United Methodist Church on the right, crossed Henley Street, went past the Medical Arts Building on the left, and finally arrived at the Federal Building.

When work began on the World’s Fair project, it was an exciting time to see the “scruffy little city” transform an area of downtown and welcome the world to Knoxville!

Words of Faith: Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.

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