Abandoned properties on Clinton Highway

Abandoned properties on Clinton Highway

Posted in the Louisville Forum

Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#1 Feb 24, 2014
I have always found abandoned property fascinating to look at and learn the history of. I never explore any myself as well, it would sorta creep me out lol but I am often on youtube watching all the numerous videos of those who are brave enough to explore abandoned malls, hotels, theme parks, schools, houses, etc. I was riding through Clinton Highway a couple weeks ago for the first time in several years and happen to notice that the section between where you just come off of merchants (like around where the Pizza Inn is) until you get into the more populated area with the Walmart and stores....looks quite disheveled and abandoned. It looked to me like an area that "time had forgotten." I am very curious about this area and what it used to be. I would also like to know what some of the buildings used to be and why that particular area has been let go of. One building in particular caught my eye...it looked like what could have been a grocery store. The building had sort of a rainbow color scheme around the top and looked like something from the 1970s. I would be interested in any information or bits of trivia that anyone knows of. I am sure there are some Knoxville natives out there who perhaps lived in this area some 40 years ago who could shed some light on why, what looks like a formerly productive stretch of town just got left behind.
Resident

Knoxville, TN

#2 Feb 25, 2014
The side of Clinton Hwy that Wal-Mart is on...I believe it's the 6600 block of Clinton Hwy, there's a closed pawn shop,abandoned cars and little building on a hill. All of that plus the acreage behind it belongs to a guy that refuses to sell it or clean it up. Rumor is Jim Clayton offered the guy 2 million for the property & guy turned it down. Kind of a mysterious recluse. Guy that managed all that property passed away last year, guy named Pockets & the reclusive millionaire just let everything go to pot. Hope that helps.
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#3 Feb 25, 2014
Oh wow! Thanks for the insight. Thinking back, I do remember seeing an abandoned pawn shop too. This is just what I am talking about, there is always a pretty intriguing story behind these things. It's really sad that the area has been let go of as it looks like it might have been the only part of that highway that resembled a town at one time, as on down the road, the walmart, hobby lobby, marshalls, etc. of course came around in the recent past. It makes me wonder what it all used to look like in its' heyday. I also wonder why this "recluse" would just let it go like that. Again, thank you so much for the information, it definitely helped to feed my curiosity.

“Friendship is arson.”

Since: Jun 13

East TN

#4 Feb 25, 2014
PrettyBlueWorld

Maryville, TN

#5 Feb 25, 2014
Resident wrote:
The side of Clinton Hwy that Wal-Mart is on...I believe it's the 6600 block of Clinton Hwy, there's a closed pawn shop,abandoned cars and little building on a hill. All of that plus the acreage behind it belongs to a guy that refuses to sell it or clean it up. Rumor is Jim Clayton offered the guy 2 million for the property & guy turned it down. Kind of a mysterious recluse. Guy that managed all that property passed away last year, guy named Pockets & the reclusive millionaire just let everything go to pot. Hope that helps.
You're mostly correct, but the guy isn't rich, he's actually pretty broke.. Don't know why he won't sell
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#6 Feb 25, 2014
Oh my goodness, thanks Greta! That site is really cool and right there it was, the picture of the rainbow building that I was talking about. It was an Ingles apparently. Seems like this particular grocery chain might not stick around in the future. I have no solid evidence of that other than the fact that they have the highest prices around, have a LOT of competition, little advertising, and just like you see in Kmart's, their stores haven't been updated since the 80s, seemingly.

PrettyBlue, rich or not, it is curious why someone would refuse to sell property that is pretty much useless unless you use it commercially (since its right along a highway) and also the fact that there is no plan to ever restore any of it. I bet there are people who have lived in that area of Knoxville their whole lives and maybe frequented these businesses at one time and perhaps have photographs of what the area used to look like. I know Knoxville has other areas that are kinda run down but this area in particular just stood out to me for some reason as a place that looked like it used to have a lot of character.
PrettyBlueWorld

Maryville, TN

#7 Feb 26, 2014
Curious: I'm a real estate agent who grew up in the 50's, in that area. The pawn shop used to be a restaurant & the little building on the hill was a motel office. I can't remember the business names though. If you're really into it, you can go to the main library & look up the addresses in the old knoxville directories, address will cross reference with business names & then you can find pics on web..
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#8 Feb 26, 2014
PrettyBlue, thanks for the info. That is a good suggestion. To be honest, I didn't know it was that feasible to do. Lol, I guess I am quite a nerd for real estate history because I just love "then and now" photographs. Can't get enough of them. Thanks again to all of you for your help!
Jeb

Oak Ridge, TN

#9 Feb 26, 2014
About 40 years ago, I believe the place you say looks like an old grocery was a motorcycle salvage shop. They kept the bone yard in the basement of that place. It was connected to a small strip mall type place that had a hubcap store and a few others. The large place next to Norris motel was one of the first home improvement stores kind of like Lowe's but was called Morris' building materials I think. It became something after that and then an 84 Lumber. I used to go into that old pawn shop a lot back in the '90s. The guy seemed nice but always had crazy prices. We could never figure out where all those cars and motorcycles came from but it is easy to assume people lost those to the pawn shop. Some of those cars have been there as long as I can remember (1978 till now). I remember some of my family asking about a Nova and a Chevelle he has but he wanted some crazy price for them. Oh and where the WalMart is now, there was a drive in movie theater. I saw several movies there as a kid. And a few of those second hand car lots over next to the old cycle salvage shop have been there since the 80s. The Harley shop was Clayton used cars and used to be located where the Yamaha, Kawasaki etc. shop is now all under one roof. Harley made them move to their own building was the rumor. That's about all I can remember at the moment.
Native

Maryville, TN

#10 Feb 26, 2014
The old pawn shop y'all are talking about used to be the Dwarf restaurant. You can find pictures of it on the internet.
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#11 Feb 26, 2014
Jeb, do you know how long ago that it could have been a motorcycle shop? Using the site that another user provided, I found out that the last use of that building was indeed an Ingles grocery. The pictures on the site showed the inside and you can tell that is what it was and yikes! that place is falling completely apart inside. I can see how it could have been connected to other shops. So are you saying that the abandoned cars and cycles are likely the old stock from the pawn shop that they never bothered removing? If so, wow! What a waste! I guess he would rather go out of business than to accept a lower offer on his merchandise huh? I didn't know that about Walmart. That area looks pretty newly developed to me but what would I know lol. Thank you so much for the information.

Native, thanks a bunch. I found some old postcard pictures of the restaurant. It looks like quite a hip place.
Jeb

Oak Ridge, TN

#12 Feb 26, 2014
We're probably talking about two different places then. The old Ingles is out next to a motel and car wash. The motel there was still being used last time I came through there but it's likely people residing there.
The place I'm talking about is down past the old pawn shop on the right.
That place was a motorcycle salvage shop at least from 1980 to late 90s and used to have a colorful paint job. I think it still has a parrot painted on the southbound side.

As for the cars and motorcycles, yeah most of those have been there since the 70s and the rest from early to mid 80s. We thought people may have pawned the titles and didn't pay, or maybe he beat them out of them some other way? Who knows? At one time, all of those vehicles where in great shape. They just rusted away to the way they look now.
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#13 Feb 26, 2014
Oh, okay. It seems like I vaguely remember the building you are speaking of. It is such a shame that all those classic vehicles went to waste. It really makes no sense at all that someone would do that. Then again, America is full of rotting mansions and malls. I don't reasonably think we can just hand these places over to just anyone but it seems like in the least these properties could be auctioned off at a reasonable price, even if the seller loses money. They certainly aren't making money by letting it rot. I wonder if maybe the pawn owner could have lost his business to the bank because often, when you see abandoned homes or businesses, it is because the owner went under and the bank bought it. And well, banks are notorious for not upkeeping any of the property they buy out. If it doesn't sell immediately, it just sets there and rots.

I read a story recently where this doctor from India (I think) bought an entire town in Canada. This town was built from the ground up in the late 70s in order to service a mining community (they mined for something other than coal if I remember correctly). It had a hospital, malls, restaurants, houses, etc. Well, whatever they were mining for, the prices plummeted so the mine had to close and the owners forced all the people out of there (because the workers never really owned the homes). It sat abandoned for some 30 years until this man came along and bought it. He is completely restoring everything there and wants to turn it into a community for artists and scientists. Now, this community was way way way back in the the boonies and very difficult and time consuming to reach, which miraculously prevented any grafitti and vandalism problems. The houses inside looked untouched, not even having a lot of dust due to the clean air and no pollution around. In America, you don't often have those benefits so you have to act fast to save abandoned properties. Nonetheless, those are the kinds of stories I like to hear. It's important, I think, to preserve the history of an area.
Resident

United States

#14 Feb 26, 2014
The pawns shop was also doing title loans and those are cars people pawned the title to & were repossessed. The city threatened him about the cars but nothing was done. Here's what I heard from the daughter of the man's former manager/ business partner: there's a lien on his property from the IRS so he can't sell it. And PrettyBlue, you're right..he's cash broke. But land & property RICH. He owns 4 houses on Cedar Lane alone.
Curious

New Tazewell, TN

#15 Feb 26, 2014
Resident, so the same guy who owns all of this land with the abandoned properties, also managed the pawn shop? I wasn't sure because I mean, I thought he just might own a lot of property and people simply paid him rent. Why was he threatened about the cars...was he not licensed to do title loans? I figured there was a catch though because most reasonable people wouldn't just let valuable property go to ruin like that. That is what I am talking about, there is always red tape of some kind and because of it, these properties go to waste. Such a shame.
highlander

United States

#16 Sep 25, 2016
My uncle owned the dwarf Restaurant. Great chili. It closed sometimes in the70s
Sam I AM

Chicago, IL

#17 Sep 30, 2016
Went through there a while back. Looks like they tore down the old motel and car wash next to the old Ingles building.

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