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Architecture: Knoxville Old City, Tennessee

Knoxville Old City (Tennessee)

We've become totally hooked on trips to the southern states of America, exploring backwaters in North Carolina, Georgia, & Tennessee and the staggeringly huge and beautiful Appalachian mountains.

I put Knoxville on the itinerary because of the name – so old-time America. We stayed in the old downtown and were just a few blocks from the so-called ‘Old City’ of Knoxville, the original industrial area surrounding the still operative railroad.

Visiting American towns and cities as a European it’s hard not to be looking for the America of old films - including those seedy areas where people get up to no good and drive 
around in big black cars in the rain and dark – that was Knoxville Old City ! And I liked it that it was a gloomy day when I took the photos because that seemed to add to the create the grainy, filmic atmosphere I was after.

Luckily for Knoxville – and architecture lovers like me – some forward looking creative companies and cool bars and restaurants had managed to regenerate the oldest part of the town leaving a few streets intact with their fabulous huge industrial buildings still adorned with the original giant graphics.

This JFG COFFEE structure is more sculpture than advert - and what a brilliant three dimensional interpretation of steam.

It's the sheer scale of the graphics which is so awe-inspiring to someone used to European advertising. I also love the fact that the companies could be so bothered as to create these amazing graphic murals. No comparison with the generic, corporate, plastic logos of today.

Interesting juxtaposition between Italianate style arches and 1940s (?) graphics. Plus love the company name 'American Clothing Co' - just what it boils down to!

This mural is a contemporary one for a music venue - great they got into the traditional Old City style.

This just looked so 'America' to me.

The proportions of these buildings are fantastic - if only more of these old American downtowns still existed.

Oh and those trains! 'Can't you hear that lonely whistle blow'. We love American freight trains - it's great how you can get right next to the track and watch the seemingly endless wagons roll past. And the whistle is indeed a lonely and evocative sound - now recorded on my mobile phone just to remind me of America!

A bar in the Old City - just wondering if they left something off that list.............................

1 comment:

  1. I love your art! I'm live in America, just North of Nashville Tn. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey through the south and American architecture and history! xx


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