Knox Heritage announced its "Fragile Fifteen" list of the most endangered historic sites for 2017. The preservation group releases the list every May as part of National Preservation Month.
"We're trying to help people re-imagine how the buildings can be used," said Kim Trent, Executive Director of Knox Heritage. "The list raises awareness of historic properties that can be helped. We rank the list in order of importance. The top of the list is Standard Knitting Mill. It's over 400,000 square feet and it has so much potential. But it continues to deteriorate the longer it's not restored."
Trent said the Standard Knitting Mill is comparable to many mills in North Carolina that have been restored as mixed use properties with housing, office space, and industrial applications ranging from manufacturing to beer breweries.
"It's highly visible from the interstate, so anyone who rides through Knoxville sees this property. And just due to its size, it could have an incredible economic impact five minutes from Downtown Knoxville," said Trent.
Trent said a property that may surprise some is the Lucky Inn on Asheville Highway. The old motel was built in 1947. When asked why the site is now considered historic as opposed to just old and run down, Trent said it made the list because it is one of the few remaining buildings that provide a slice of life just before interstates were built.
"It has that architectural detailing when things were made to look super modern and cool across the country. And this is a visual record of what so many motels used to look like along this corridor when it was the main route used for tourism and travel before the interstates," said Trent.
Sites on the Fragile Fifteen receive more than publicity and increased awareness. The staff at Knox Heritage works to specifically come up with realistic solutions for owners to make money while preserving history.
The full 2017 Fragile Fifteen is listed below. More thorough descriptions of each site and its historical significance is posted at the Knox Heritage website.1. Standard Knitting Mill - 1400 Washington Avenue
2. Estabrook Hall - 1012 Estabrook Road