Historic Zoning Commission

James White Fort Individual H Landmark: Level II


Staff Recommendation for New secondary structures

Staff recommends postponement of Certificate 10-I-22-HZ, so the applicant may revise the site plan and elevation drawings and modify 1) placement, 2) massing, and 3) overall design of pavilion and bathroom buildings to better align with the museum complex.

Applicant Request

Accessory structure

New secondary structures, including a pavilion structure and a new bathroom building. Pavilion is a 68' deep by 42' wide, gable-roof open-air pavilion with an 8/12 pitch roof clad in cedar shakes, an open truss detail, and a concrete slab foundation. The pavilion is proposed to be placed 20' from the front property line, immediately to the left (west) of the primary cabin.

The bathroom building is 38'-4" wide by 11'-4" deep, featuring an 8/12 pitch gable roof clad in cedar shakes, an exterior of "stained board and batten barnwood," a concrete slab foundation, and three doors described by the applicant as "standard commercial metal doors in metal frames."

Site Info


Museum complex comprised of 8-10 log and wood structures, illustrating c.1800 frontier complex of James White.

1. The James White Fort complex is protected by a local historic overlay. The original fort was located on a site nearby, along present-day State Street between Church and Clinch Avenues. The original cabin was dismantled in the early 1900s and logs were used in a house built on Woodlawn Pike in South Knoxville. In the 1960s, the City Association of Women's Clubs led efforts to acquire the Woodlawn Pike house and use the logs in reconstructing the cabin on E. Hill Avenue. The secondary structures on the complex recreate typical outbuildings of the late 18th century in East Tennessee. The James White Fort complex was opened to the public in 1970.

2. The existing James White Fort complex is set at an angle to E. Hill Avenue on a parcel defined by Urban Renewal-era development. The buildings are set approximately 45' from the front property line and sidewalk at their closest point, with a large surface parking lot occupying half of the lot. A grassed lawn divides the museum complex and the sidewalk along E. Hill Avenue.

3. The site plan is not currently to scale and the buildings' depicted placement does not reflect the required setbacks of the OS zoning district. The proposed bathroom building is proposed to be set 20' from the southeast corner of the property, closer to the sidewalk than any other building on the property. The proposed pavilion will be set adjacent to the main cabin, and is significantly larger in size than other buildings on the property. The bathroom building, as a utility structure with a purpose secondary to the functions of the museum, should be placed behind the museum complex or at a less prominent location. As currently proposed, the bathroom doors would face away from the sidewalk, creating a blank wall face fronting the public right-of-way. The pavilion should also be recessed behind the main cabin to avoid being the primary visual point on the property.

4. While the pavilion will be relatively visually transparent, due to the open-air nature of a pavilion, it is significantly larger in size than the other buildings on the complex. The application does not include a height comparison between the pavilion and the primary cabin. The pavilion should be secondary in massing and design to the primary cabin (which is the showpiece/intent of the museum and property).

5. The buildings at James White Fort are characterized by log construction, stone foundation and chimneys, cedar shake roofs, and double-hung wood windows. The property also features a tall wood stockade fence, designed from written descriptions of James White's original property. The major exterior materials (cedar shake roofs, wood board-and-batten siding) proposed for the outbuildings are generally aligned with the Fort's predominant materials, though the applicant should provide detailed dimensions and a design pattern for cedar shakes, to confirm they reflect the roofing pattern of the primary cabin, and the board-and-batten siding. The pavilion is proposed to be rough cut pine structure, with an open truss detail characteristic of contemporary designs and not seen in historic construction.


Rick Staples Kimber Staples LLC

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: (865) 215-3795
Email: lindsay.crockett@knoxplanning.org
Location Knoxville
205 E. Hill Ave. 37902

James White Fort Association, Inc