After all these hurricanes, fires, floods, and earthquakes, we could all use some good news. Here you go:
The two-story log cabin where Isaac Anderson lived before founding Maryville College nearly 200 years ago was slated for demolition until last week, when work began to move the structure from Knox County to Blount.
The cabin was built in 1802, shortly after Anderson’s father moved the family from Virginia to Tennessee, and in 2010 the nonprofit preservation group Knox Heritage named the cabin one of its “Fragile 15,” what it considers the most threatened historic structures and places.
Under pressure from Knox County code officials, the homeowners association for Shannon Valley Farms likely would have demolished the cabin along Creek Rock Lane within the next couple of months, according to HOA Board Member Patrick Klepper. “Our plan was to bring in some dumpsters and haul it away,” he said.
Although the HOA and Knox Heritage had tried to generate interest in the cabin for years, estimates to haul it offsite and restore it have been about $60,000 to $80,000.
Maryville College alumnus Cole Piper serves on the board for the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and brought the cabin to the attention of Director Bob Patterson.
Once Piper explained to him the significance of Anderson, the Heritage Center director said, “I wanted to make this happen.”
A Presbyterian minister, Anderson was called to be pastor of New Providence Presbyterian Church in Maryville in 1811 and moved his academy here, later founding a seminary that would become Maryville College.
An anonymous donor has provided funding to start the process of dismantling the cabin and hauling the pieces to the grounds of the Heritage Center, and a fundraising campaign is being planned for the cabin’s restoration.
It was headed for the dump, and now it’ll get all spruced up for visitors to the GSMHC to enjoy. I call that a win.