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National Register Lists UT’s Hopecote Guest House

Friday Apr 27, 2012
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KNOXVILLE - The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Hopecote guest house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tennessee Historical Commission recently notified the university about the designation. The state agency assists in contributing to the federal register and reviews applications received for properties around the state.

Hopecote is a stucco-exterior, slate-roofed, 3,500-square-foot home on Melrose Avenue on campus, used as a guest house for distinguished visitors. The National Register nomination notes that Hopecote is "Knoxville’s best and least altered example of the English Cottage Revival style" of home construction, highly regarded for its house and garden design.

In 1921, Albert and Emma G. Hope commissioned their nephew, architect John Fanz Staub, to begin design work on Hopecote. The home was built in 1924 in Melrose Park Addition, then a residential neighborhood six blocks west of the University of Tennessee campus. The home’s design was inspired by the "refined simplicity of the cottage architecture of the Cotswald District in England," according to the nomination. Staub is a UT alumnus and famous for his work in the Arts and Crafts design movement.


The house won "House Beautiful" magazine’s first design competition in 1925, and was featured in "The Architect" and "Southern Architect and Builder" magazines. One imitation of Hopecote was constructed in Glendale, Arizona, after the owners read the "House Beautiful" article and contacted the Hopes about their home’s design details. The home’s interior has historic artifacts that include heavy, hand-hewn oak timbers salvaged from a nineteenth-century barn on the grounds of the birthplace of Admiral David Farragut.

The beams are part of the structural fabric of the dwelling and are exposed as post and beam, fireplace lintel, and door framing. The hearthstone in the living room was taken from one of the paths of the James Park House, another Knoxville home listed on the National Register of Historic Places, whose foundation was built by Governor John Sevier in the 1790s. The dining room is a replica of the New Hampshire Room, which was on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, as Emma Hope requested.

UT purchased the house from Emma Hope in 1976 with the understanding that she could live there as long as she was able. Following her death a year later, Chancellor Jack Reese formed an advisory committee to oversee renovations to the house and explore its future uses.

After renovation, it formally re-opened as a guest house for official visitors and as a teaching laboratory for students in interior design, architecture, and ornamental horticulture. In 1981, Albert and Josephine Kern established an endowment for the maintenance and care of the home into the future.

The National Register nomination was filed with the Tennessee Historical Commission in November 2011 and submitted to the Keeper of the National Register in January 2012. Hopecote was approved and listed on the register in March 2012.

Hopecote is one of approximately 110 properties in Knoxville listed on the register and is now eligible to display a marker from the National Park Service.


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