Blount Mansion is fortunate to have not one, but two historic homes on its beautiful property in downtown Knoxville: Blount Mansion itself, and the adjacent circa-1818 Craighead-Jackson House, a three-story brick Federalist structure located adjacent to the Mansion.
Home to a succession of leading local families, the Craighead-Jackson House was blighted, altered, and barely recognizable when the city and state purchased it in 1957 to save it from demolition. The Blount Mansion Association was tapped to care for the house. In 1962, the association officially assumed ownership of the Craighead-Jackson House and began an extensive three-year-long restoration project that was completed in early 1966. The house served as the Blount Mansion visitors center and offices from 1966 until the mid-1990s, when the current modern Visitors Center was opened. Since that time, the Craighead-Jackson House has been used for archival storage and extra office space. A recent interior cleaning and light restoration work allowed the association to use the home for a few special events in 2019.
A $75,000 grant from the Boyd Foundation—the philanthropic organization operated by Knoxville’s Randy and Jenny Boyd, their sons Thomas and Harrison, and their daughter-in-law Lindsey—will enable us to utilize this magnificent historic structure to its fullest extent, expanding our educational offerings to include special activities inside the restored historic rooms. Community groups will be able to use the beautiful interior spaces for meetings and other events for a nominal fee. The work is expected to take 12-18 months, and should be completed by fall 2021.
Behind the Craighead-Jackson House stands a Colonial Revival parterre garden designed by pioneering female landscape architect Edith Henderson in 1972. The design was commissioned by the Knoxville Garden Study Club, a young women’s affiliate of the Knoxville Garden Club, which cares for the main gardens at Blount Mansion. This garden, which fell into neglect in recent decades, is being lovingly restored by the Blount Mansion Association.