October 3 Founders Day Luncheon

Founders Day Luncheon to Celebrate the City of Knoxville’s 225th Birthday

The Historic Homes of Knoxville are pleased to invite the public to a luncheon on Monday, October 3, 2016, at 11:30 AM at The Foundry to celebrate the founding of the City of Knoxville 225 years ago. Bill Landry, host of WBIR’s The Heartland Series, will be the featured speaker. Knoxville’s key leaders will come together to celebrate and promote the city and its most precious properties, including Blount Mansion, Crescent Bend House & Gardens, Historic Ramsey House, James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Site, and Historic Westwood. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Historic Homes.

Bill Landry is the voice, host, narrator, and co-producer of The Heartland Series, which has aired on WBIR-TV for nearly thirty years. Since its beginnings in 1984, over 1,900 short features have been produced, including 150 half-hour specials. Mr. Landry has written, produced, and acted in many of the episodes.

Receiving an MFA from Trinity University at the Dallas Theater Center and a BA in literature from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Bill has gone on to receive two Emmy Awards for directing The Heartland Series, the Education in Appalachia Award from Carson-Newman University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Lincoln Memorial University.

For over thirty years Mr. Landry has written, produced, and performed his one-man play, Einstein the Man. He has presented the play over 1,000 times in thirty-eight states and two provinces of Canada.

In 2009, Bill premiered his DVD production of William Bartram – An Unlikely Explorer for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which tells the tale of the little known eighteenth-century explorer, adventurer, and naturalist.

In 2011, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Landry to the Tennessee Historical Commission. Deeply rooted in the Appalachian region, Bill Landry has served on the boards of Fish Hospitality Pantries, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, the Clarence Brown Theatre, the Princess Theater Foundation in Harriman, and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee. In 2011, his book, Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures was published by Celtic Cat Publishing, and is now in its third printing.

Bill works as a spokesman for WBIR-TV and for several other companies including Hallsdale Powell Utility District. He continues to write, direct, and produce video documentaries, and gives lectures and speeches, including his popular presentations of “An Evening with Bill Landry.”  Bill’s latest book, “WHEN the WEST was TENNESSEE,” will be published in 2017.

The Historic Homes of Knoxville are uniformly significant in Tennessee’s accession as the 16th state in 1796. Apart from the paramount importance of their preservation, each house museum offers regular tours, events, and educational opportunities that benefit the community at large. For more information on the Historic Homes of Knoxville, visit www.hhknoxville.org.

Built in 1786, James White’s Fort was home to the founder of Knoxville. More than 10,000 visitors tour the Fort each year to experience the frontier lifestyle through hands-on interpretation of Open Hearth Cooking, Blacksmithing and Spinning.

Marble Springs was the home of John Sevier (1745-1815), Tennessee’s first governor and Revolutionary War hero. The site is a destination for over 2,000 school children and hosts a variety of hands-on workshops and Living History events that give visitors a glimpse into late 18th- and early 19th-century life.

Construction on Blount Mansion began in 1792, making it the oldest museum in Knox County. As the birthplace of the state of Tennessee, the site offers educational visits for grades K-5, and all lesson plans follow the Tennessee State Curriculum. Blount Mansion also hosts field trips for homeschool groups.

Historic Ramsey House was built in 1797 by Knoxville’s first builder, Thomas Hope, for Francis Alexander Ramsey, one of Knoxville’s first settlers. Ramsey House’s educational programs incorporate social studies, science, and math, and adhere to state education standards. The programs allow visitors to see and experience how people lived in the 1800’s.

Historic Crescent Bend House & Gardens is one of the Southeast’s finest house museums and gardens. Built in 1834 by Drury Paine Armstrong, Crescent Bend was once a 900-acre working farm and so named for its prominent setting overlooking a majestic crescent bend in the Tennessee River just west of downtown Knoxville. Offering museum and garden tours, Crescent Bend also serves as a popular venue for special events.

Built in 1858 and housing three generations of the same family from 1858-1987, the Mabry-Hazen House served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. Mabry-Hazen offers private tours to individuals and schools, and contains the original family collection of over 5,000 family heirlooms. In addition, the museum oversees the Bethel Cemetery, the resting place for more than 1,600 Confederate Soldiers. The cemetery also contains a small museum built in the caretaker’s cottage dating from 1886.

Historic Westwood was built as a “wedding promise” in 1890 by John E. Lutz and his wife, Adelia Armstrong Lutz and it remained in the family for 123 years. The Lutzes’ home, designed by the notable Baumann Brothers architects, is constructed of brick and stone in the grand style of the late 19th century and contains the stunning artist studio built for Adelia, Tennessee’s first professional female painter. The home opened as Knox Heritage’s Regional Center for Historic Preservation in the spring of 2014.

Each of these historic homes is a chapter of history unto itself. Together they exemplify and celebrate the continuing pioneering spirit that created Knoxville 225 years ago.

The luncheon will be held on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 12:00 PM at The Foundry, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive in downtown Knoxville. Guests may enjoy a meet & greet with Bill Landry at 11:30 AM, with the program and luncheon beginning at 12:00 PM. WBIR’s John Becker will perform the duties of Master of Ceremonies and Jack Neely will give additional remarks about the history of Knoxville.  Knoxville’s Poet Laureate, RB Morris, will read a poem written in honor of the city’s 225th birthday.  Advance single tickets are $50; a table of ten is $500. Purchase tickets through www.hhknoxville.org or by calling 865-523-7543. Advance reservations are requested by September 26.


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