In 1797, that is.

The next home in the founder’s chronology is Ramsey House. Built of Tennessee pink and blue marble limestone by Knoxville’s first builder, Thomas Hope for the Ramsey Family. One might add that Colonel Francis Ramsey was Founding Vol, as well, serving as one of the trustees of Blount College (named for Tennessee’s first governor), now the University of Tennessee.  Anna Grace and I toured this home in the summer, hence the summer landscape.

The exterior of the house is quite pretty, with decorative finishes making the house truly the finest house in the state for its time. The addition of the kitchen directly connected to the house was a first for Tennessee, too.

The kitchens of historic homes are the rooms I look most forward to touring; I enjoy seeking out the “gadgets” regardless of the era. Mrs. Ramsey’s kitchen was outfitted well.

On the staff’s table, an upscale egg cooker.

Elegance in the formal dining room. And a nod to the homeland on the wall. The silver tea set was a gift to Colonel Ramsey’s son and his bride for their wedding, and was made in Boston.

The house changed hands many times; and at one point became a boarding house before being purchased by a preservation society in the 1950’s. The preservationist society put out a call for items of the period to furnish the house. Most interestingly, the bannister had gone “missing” for more than a decade before someone found it in their barn, if I am remembering the story correctly!

The upper level contained a weaving room and the sleeping chamber. We spied the typical period furniture, including the “Necessary Chair.”


Thomas Hope trained as a furniture maker in Charleston; we had occasion to view some of his furniture when we visited the city last year. In Ramsey House there is but one piece.

In normal years Ramsey House offers summer concerts and vintage baseball games on the expansive lawn. This year the games were virtual, but they were able to conduct the concert series, of course with reduced capacity and social distancing. We look forward to better times and more visits to Ramsey House.