Level IV. Demolition or relocation of contributing structure
Proposed demolition of a primary residence and associated outbuilding at 1419 Harvey Street. House dates to approximately 1910, and is noted as a "contributing" resource to the Old North Knoxville National Register Historic District. It is not listed among the "non-contributing" resources in the report prepared to accompany the Old North Knoxville Historic overlay in 1981.Site Info
The Old North Knoxville overlay report, dating to 1981, describes the house as a "one-story, shotgun, clapboard siding, wood trim, gable roof, front porch with shed roof." The National Register nomination describes the house as a Folk Victorian from 1905: "one-story frame with aluminum siding. Front gable roof with wood louvered attic vent, asphalt shingle covering. Double-hung three-over-one windows. One-story, two-thirds front porch with shed roof, lattice panels between piers, square wood posts, sawn wood brackets and spindled balustrade. Interior central brick chimney. Brick foundation. Modified by side ell from shotgun plan."
1. The house is listed as a contributing resource in the Old North Knoxville National Register Historic District. The front-gable roof, shotgun form of a house is a less prevalent style in ONK (though visible on Alexander Street, Anderson Avenue, and Harvey Street) but common in neighborhoods which originated for mill workers and other laborers, like Oakwood. 2. Some of the demolition (including the removal of the shed-roof front porch and the foundation) was completed without the necessary demolition permits or COAs in March 2020. This un-permitted and un-reviewed demolition has left the foundation open to the elements to the present day. 3. The house has suffered from deterioration by neglect. No Certificates of Appropriateness have been issued for any exterior work on the house since the creation of the overlay, other than minor roof repairs in 1993. 4. The applicant proposed demolition of the house in May 2020 due to the house's extensive deterioration. Discussion at the May 2020 HZC meeting focused on the feasibility of rehabilitating the house, the cost of repairs compared to the value of the house, and the amount of information provided in the application to support demolition. The application was denied without prejudice to allow the applicant the opportunity to provide a stronger case for demolition in a new application. 5. The shed-roof section on the southeast elevation and the rear section are later additions, not shown on the 1917 Sanborn map. The side addition features Craftsman-style windows and is most likely a historic addition. The shed-roof addition has been shown to be more deteriorated than the original shotgun house, due to the slope of the site and the addition resting directly on the ground. 6. The applicant provided a letter from a structural engineer for the May 2020 HZC meeting. At the meeting, the applicant and Peter Ahrens, Director of the City's Plans Review and Inspections department, discussed the non-traditional construction method of the house. After viewing photographs of the house, Mr. Ahrens noted that the house was not built with traditional studs with exterior sheathing and interior plaster, but instead a more haphazard arrangement of stacked and dimensional lumber which would make repair more difficult. Wall framing would need to be fully reconstructed. 7. Representatives of the neighborhood, including neighborhood liaison James Pierce and City Council representative Lauren Rider, visited the property on multiple occasions since the May meeting. Councilmember Rider noted the additions are in an unsalvageable condition. After a second visit, Councilmember Rider also noted extensive fire damage on the floor joists of the original shotgun section; the floor joists appear charred in a random pattern, which would necessitate the replacement of at least half of the joists throughout the house. The May 18, 2020 letter from structural engineer Maurice Mallia, PE reinforces this, and states that the entire floor framing would need to be replaced, along with the foundation walls and interior walls. Mr. Mallia stated that about 60-70% of the house would need to be reconstructed. 8. The updated application includes documentation of the house's deterioration by a licensed architect. On the foundation level, the application shows root and termite damage on the foundation, substandard foundation supports, including deteriorated brick piers replaced by wooden posts, and weather damage due to the addition sitting directly on the ground. Exterior elements include exterior walls supported directly by the ground, defective roof and wall connections at the addition, termite damage hidden under the foundation, and replacement windows and front door. Vinyl siding was applied directly over fire-damaged wood sheathing. Interior photos document fire damage in the attic, fire damage under interior paneling and flooring, termite damage under the floor, and a collapsed fireplace. 9. The above description of items needing replacement means repair to the house would likely involve supporting the roof framing while reconstructing foundation, flooring, and the wall framing. Previous HZC and Plans Review & Inspections reviews of this extent of work (most recently, 1610 Forest Avenue in Fort Sanders, 11-E-19-HZ and 12-E-19-HZ) have evaluated the removal of foundation, flooring, and wall framing as an effective demolition and reconstruction of a new house. Very little original fabric of the house would remain beyond the footprint. 10. Other design guidelines with specific recommendations on demolition focus on the creation of a vacant lot, which would be a detriment to the historic district. The applicant submitted rough plans for a new house on the property along with the initial application for the May 2020 meeting. The plans were not included in the review of demolition, as proposed new construction carries thorough application requirements and a pre-application workshop would be encouraged. The applicant does intend to build a new house on the property.