Historic home demolished despite state law

10:40 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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One of the historically significant buildings on Knox Heritage's 'Fragile Fifteen' list was torn down this week, despite state laws that should have protected it.

Knox Heritage Executive Director Lisa Trent says the Huffaker-Gose house was built around 1830 in Southeast Knox County.

She says the county apparently didn't recognize the significance of the two-story wooden home when they approved the owner's permit to demolish it.

According to Tennessee State Law, property owners are prohibited from demolishing structures without approval under these sets of criteria:

(1) The residential structure was originally constructed before 1865;
(2) The residential structure is reparable at a reasonable cost; and
(3) The residential structure has a historical significance besides age itself, including, but not limited to, uniqueness of architecture, occurrence of historical events, notable former residents, design by a particular architect, or construction by a particular builder.

Trent says they first made contact with Dr. William Hovis, the building's owner, last year.

It came to their attention through a newspaper article that Hovis intended to allow a local fire department to burn the building for a training drill.

Trent says Knox Heritage alerted Hovis to the historical significance of the building, which she estimates was among less than a dozen of the same ago.

10News tried to reach Hovis at his home this evening, but neighbors say he was out of town.

They also say the home was termite infested and in bad shape. But Trent, who toured the house last summer, says she's seen worse and it should have been saved.

"We plan to work with the county and Mayor Burchett to see if we can flag these pre-1865 properties in the database for Knox County and it would be a similar process like we use in historic districts," says Trent.


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