1007 Circle Park, Knoxville, Tennessee

circlepark.knoxville.TN . circlepark.knoxville.1938
1007 Circle Park Drive Knoxville Tennessee 1007circle.knoxville.1964 . DSCN6989

My mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, grew up at 1007 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee. This address does not exist any more. In the mid-1960’s, the whole neighborhood was torn down to make room for the University of Tennessee. You can check out Circle Park on Google Maps: the satellite view shows that Circle Park itself is still there but the round street around it is now called Circle Park Drive SW or Circle Park Drive. Originally, Circle Park was a private open space owned by the houses around it.

It is surprising how much of a presence a house that does not exist still has. 1007 Circle Park stood on its own acre of land. It had towers, secret passages (an air gap between inner and outer walls), and a teardrop-shaped carriage drive in the side yard with a porte-cochere to keep the rain off. There were stables and three servant quarters in the back. My great grandfather, Walter Van Gilder, bought the house around 1910. It was ornate Victorian in style, built around the time of the American Civil War.

After 1965, when Evelyn Van Gilder Creekmore and Robert Elmond Creekmore (my grandparents) knew that their home would be torn down, they took as much of the house with them as they could when they moved. This included doors, architectural trim, windows, banisters, and ironwork as well as furniture. Over the years those pieces have been installed in a variety of our family’s houses in California and Tennessee.

My husband, John Plocher just finished bolting the extremely heavy black iron fireback (featuring Poseidon and seahorses) into the exterior wall of his new workshop. In our house, we also have furniture carved by Ellen Bolli Van Gilder (my great grandma), a parlor screen with six paintings by my ancestress Mary Esperandieu, the newel post from the 1007 Circle Park staircase, a heater grate, a metal fire screen, several panels of stained glass and clear leaded glass, and a variety of mirrors that Walter Van Gilder made himself for 1007 Circle Park.

A photo below shows the front door of 1007 Circle Park on the day my mother married my father in 1952. In the picture, she is being escorted to the wedding by her father, R.E. Creekmore, flanked by my other grandparents (B.W.O. Dickinson and Gladys Grace Oakes Dickinson) and Ellen Bolli Van Gilder. The doors and stained glass panel in the back of that 1952 photo are the same doors and stained glass panel in my parents’ house in San Francisco in 2006, shown below with my mother at the door. Walter Van Gilder made the glass panel.

26 December 2012 blog – The Walter Van Gilder stained glass panel was installed in our home in Willow Glen, California, after being re-leaded and restored.

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DSCN6986 . 1952.wedding2.frontdoor
1947.eleanor.richard.lou . 1955.Richard.Louise . 2006.house3.Eleanor

Images Copyright 1938-2009 by Katy Dickinson and Eleanor Dickinson


Filed under Home & Family

18 responses to “1007 Circle Park, Knoxville, Tennessee

  1. Pingback: Van Gilder Glass – 3rd Home | KatysBlog

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  4. Debra Henning

    Are you aware of the fact that Ellen Bolli taught “carving” in John Dewey’s famous Laboratory School? At the time, she was listed as a student in the Armour Institute, now Illinois Institute of Technology. Do you have any information about her life during her time in Chicago?

    • Hello to Debora Henning: I heard much of my Grandmother’s time in Chicago at the Univ. of Chicago then and also with John Dewey. She majored in furniture design and wood carving which was very unusual for a well brought-up Southern girl: her furniture has been distributed among various family members: the wood she used was white oak which she then ‘fumed’ by covering the pieces with a tarp and heating sulfuric acid under it which darkens the wood considerably. She was a Feminist then along with her future husband Walter Van Gilder and they both were in various Feminist actions. She was asked to be a teacher in the Phillipeans when the U.S. took them over; she declined as she had to return home to nurse her father. We all lived together in the huge Victorian house:she was a great influence on me as an artist.
      -Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson

      • Linda Crumpton

        I lived across the street from you at 955 Temple Ave. I was younger than Louise, but we played together some. We went to your wedding. I remember Louise told me she would be a bridesmaid, but not to wave when she came down the aisle. My Mother was Jeannette Ayers. I have a brother Sonny. We moved to South Knoxville When UT took over. I cannot believe that my home is now the Humanities Building. My name is Linda Ayers Crumpton. I am on Facebook. Hello, neighbor.

  5. Pingback: Creekmore Family Reunion, Knoxville Tennessee | KatysBlog

  6. Kim Johnson

    Hello, my name is Kim Johnson and I was looking for information on Walter Van Gilder. I have a mirror made by his company in 1940 and would love to know more information about it and its value. I didn’t know any other way to get in touch with someone about this. Thank you so much, Kim

  7. Katy Dickinson

    Hi Kim Johnson
    Thanks for your message. If you can send me a front and back photo of the mirror with measurements, I may be able to tell you more about the it. Thanks,
    Katy -dot- Dickinson -at- gmail – dot- com

  8. Hello Katy,
    I just discovered this blog. My grandmother was Maude Creekmore Mackey, your grandfather’s sister. My father is Bob Mackey, Maude’s son. We have a connection! Hope we can keep in touch. Enjoyed your photos very much!

    Sharon Mackey

  9. Jesse Ayers

    I lived across the street at 955 Temple Ave. I knew your mother, who was a friend of my older sister. I may even have a story or two. — Jesse (Sonny) Ayers

  10. Jesse Ayers

    Correction, it was Louise that I knew. Must be your aunt.

  11. Pingback: Distributing Family Stuff | KatysBlog

  12. Katy, this is a really nice write-up on Circle Park! I love the photos, esp the one of Rick and me on the rock bench-it was the day of my Confirmation at St. John’s. Some of the details differ a bit from what I remember: the house was built in 1876 and Mom told me that she moved in with her parents when she was 18-that would make it 1923. The Univ of Tenn bought most of the land from Cumberland Ave to the TN River and from Neyland Football Stadium to the RR tracks under the Right of Eminent Domain. Practically all of the homes were destroyed. We moved out in August 1964 and by that June of 1965 the entire house was gone. They were supposed to build the 3rd wing of the McClung Museum there but ran out of money (or they spent it elsewhere) and it remains a parking lot to this day. The lady who wrote in above, I was a friend of Linda Ayers-both of us about 5 years old. We had a lot of fun playing together at their large house. Daddy told me that very intense legal work went into making sure that the park remained a park and could not to be sold or have any structure placed in it. When I was 13 in 1957, Daddy took me over to the park and we got to see Sputnik flying over – the first satellite to orbit the Earth. Circle Park was a great place to live! best ever, love, Aunt Lou (Louise Creekmore Senatore – Knoxville, TN 37934)

  13. Heather Harris

    Thank you for posting these pictures! I have always wondered what the houses looked like! My dad mentioned some were turned into frat houses when he was a student after WW2. Why did they have to be destroyed?! just tear down more homes on Rose or Lilly. (Where ever they were. I never really figured out the location but my grandma talked about them.)
    My mom grew up on Fort Sanders and my grandparents continued to live their deaths so I spent a lot of time with them. I was a UT student and my dad taught there so I’ve seen a lot of change, not for the better.

  14. I just discovered this blog while researching another Circle Park residence. I am looking for any photos of the John L. Boyd residence that was located at 1131 Circle Park (adjacent to Yale Ave.). Does anyone know of any photos of this or any other homes built along Circle Park? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Chris

      Thanks for your comment. I have been asked this before so I know that I only have long-distance photos from Circle Park of any houses other than my own family’s. You might try contacting the Knoxville Museum of Art (formerly the Dulin Gallery). Best wishes,


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