Abandoned Knoxville College

3:32 PM

Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee was founded in 1875.  Originally a training facility, it was designated a college in 1877.

After the completed construction of McGee Hall, the first building on campus, students helped construct most of the buildings on campus. In fact, Wallace Hall (1891) and McMillan Chapel (1913) were constructed completely by student labor.

Almost every brick used in the construction of buildings on campus was made at the campus brickyard. In 1904, the college sold over one million bricks to the surrounding community, in addition to the ones they made for personal use.

Knoxville College had a total of 17 buildings on a total of 39 acres. Located atop a hill that overlooks the Mechanicsville neighborhood, just northwest of downtown Knoxville, this property now sits abandoned with over a century of history within it.

Knoxville College followed a debt-free policy that allowed students to complete their degree programs without any debt. Students were allowed to offset their tuition costs by working for several hours per week. 

This may have been the main reasoning as to why the college started to suffer in the 1970's. By the 1990's, many buildings were abandoned on campus, yet classes continued to enroll students despite the campus starting to crumble around them.

In 2003, Knoxville College was given a $4.5 million loan from the U.S. Government, yet still strived to gain enrollment by providing students a debt-free option. Enrollment didn't increase, and their debt continued to climb.  In 2011, Team Home Depot gave Knoxville College $10,000 for a "clean up day" to beautify the campus, however, the beauty was shortly lived come the Winter of 2012.  

On June 9th, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency seized control of the lonely abandoned A.K. Stewart Science Hall to conduct an emergency clean-up of toxic chemicals that Knoxville College had improperly stored in its laboratories but attempted to hide seeing as the hall was abandoned and closed off.  This added almost $500,000 to the college's debt.

In April of 2015, Knoxville College announced that it would suspend classes until the 2016 Fall semester. Enrollment had fallen to 11 students, and the 39-acre campus had only 35 employees.

In May 2016, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation made the site a "Superfund" site due to the ongoing contamination concerns from the A.K. Stewart Science Hall, even after the almost $500,000 clean up. This kept the college closed until further notice.

With hopes of reopening in the Fall of 2016, Knoxville College had to remain closed after the City of Knoxville demanded that Knoxville College make repairs to fourteen of its buildings within a ninety day period of time. City crews boarded up the buildings; and with Knoxville College unable to make those repairs within ninety days, the boards remained.

The Knoxville Fire Department has responded to over thirty fires on campus since 1997 when a large majority of the buildings on campus started to become abandoned. Five of those fires were in 2016 alone. It is largely assumed that the fires were started by homeless people trying to contain small fires for heat within the abandoned structures.

Knoxville College had multiple programs and activities in its prime. A large portion of the student body played basketball, football, or was involved in the marching band.

Bowling was also a huge activity, not only as a club sport but also as a campus event. The school even has/had its own bowling alley.  However, we were unable to access the music hall, gymnasium, autitorium, or bowling alley due to "No Trespassing" signs being posted on those buildings.  We only entered buildings that clearly did not have any signs visible.

The scoreboard on the football field has been overtaken by the foliage that once surrounded the outer portion of the field. What once was a line of twelve-inch tall bushes, now has become a forest.

And, what college campus is complete without Ramen?

Sadly, we couldn't enter the gymnasium.  The Bulldog still hangs above the main doors, with white bulldog paw prints leading you from the parking lot to the main doors.

Haunted? We don't know for sure. But, we weren't exactly hanging out to figure that out.

How many times was the school hymn played on this piano?

Close to our hearts, dear old KC,
Shall ever be thy memory.
We love the dear old halls.
We love thy trees and verdant hills,
Thy deep-toned bell whose music thrills,
Thy consecrated walls.

Deep in our hearts forevermore,
Thy dear old name shall be,
And as the silent years go by,
We'll live for thee, KC.

More Photographs from Knoxville College:













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