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Park City was incorporated in 1907 as a Tennessee municipality. From its inception in the 1890s, Park City became a melting pot of Greek, Swiss, Jewish, African American, German, Italian, and Scotch-Irish entrepreneurs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Cal Johnson, a former slave and resident of Park City, became one of the wealthiest men in Tennessee. Johnson invested in race horses, taverns, and real estate, and he operated a race track in Burlington on the eastern edge of Park City. The half-mile track is still intact as a city street known as Speedway Circle. Today, Park City is a virtual museum of Victorian homes designed by mail-order architect and Park City resident George F. Barber. The residence he designed and built for himself still stands on Washington Avenue. Other highlights include Park City’s pre–Civil War history and important trade expositions of national significance hosted in Park City from 1910 to 1913. In 1917, Park City was annexed into the city of Knoxville, but the community retained its cultural and historical identity for many years around Chilhowee Park. Once a privately owned estate and lake, Chilhowee Park became Park City’s social center, welcoming such notable figures as Teddy Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, and Louis Armstrong.
About the Author
Authors Becky French Brewer and Douglas Stuart McDaniel present this pictorial history gathered from private family collections and the vast resources of the Mabry Hazen Museum, the Beck Cultural Center, and the McClung Historical Collection. Becky French Brewer is an ardent preservationist who was born and raised in Park City. Douglas Stuart McDaniel is a community activist and historic preservationist. Brewer and McDaniel are passionate about the revitalization of historic neighborhoods.