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City Takes Ownership of WWI Doughboy Memorial Statue  
Knoxville High doughboy statue

Standing prominently on Fifth Avenue, Knoxville High School was a co-ed institution from 1910-1951, after which it was used for administrative offices. After city and county schools merged in 1987, the school hosted adult education classes. 

The school sat empty for many years, until 2014, when Knox County sold it to Dover Development to renovate as a senior independent living facility.

At that point, the building's ownership status went from public to private, raising the question of what should happen to the sizable Doughboy statue out front, erected in 1921 by the 117th Infantry to memorialize the local soldiers who died in World War I. The memorial's location was chosen because many of those veterans, both alive and dead, were Knoxville High alumni. 

This week, the City of Knoxville signed an easement that would make the statue part of the surrounding city-owned property, like the sidewalk and the rights of way. 

Easement signing
From left: City Council members George Wallace and Lauren Rider, Vice Mayor Finbarr Saunders, Rick Dover, Mayor Madeline Rogero, County Commissioner Evelyn Gill and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. 

“The City of Knoxville is proud to take ownership of this Doughboy memorial statue and agree to maintain it in perpetuity,” Mayor Rogero said to a small, enthusiastic crowd of government officials, neighbors, military veterans and residents of Historic Knoxville High. The ceremony was moved indoors due to the threat of thunderstorms. 

Mayor Rogero noted the ongoing infrastructure work that continues in the neighborhood. 

“Through public and private investment, this neighborhood is experiencing a very exciting revitalization and renaissance,” she said. 

Mayor Rogero

Alongside the school's west side, the City’s $6.15 million North Central Street project is underway and scheduled to be completed by spring 2019.

Nearby, the Old City is getting new utilities, wider sidewalks, and new ramps connecting Gay Street and Jackson Avenue—approximately $10 million in infrastructure.

Now open for residents and tours for potential residents, Historic Knoxville High has 80 residential units and lushly appointed common rooms. This Knoxville News Sentinel article profiles one 85-year-old Knoxville High graduate who is returning as a new resident. 

Easement signing

Posted by ptravis On 29 June, 2018 at 12:09 PM