In a fit of conviction about my previous rant on the Fort's lack of a "homey feel" due to the danger lurking around every corner, I thought to put forth a note of praise towards this historical area we college students reside in.
In the 1860s, Fort Sanders was none other than the battlegrounds for, yes, you guessed it, "The Battle of Fort Sanders." History has been etched on this piece of land. In the decades afterwards, Fort Sanders began to be developed into a place where residents could live.
Currently, although somewhat dangerous, Fort Sanders – otherwise known as the Fort – houses more than 4,000 residents with a vast majority consisting of college-aged students.
Often in the rush of school, work, clubs and just being a young adult, we lose sight of how interesting of a place we live in. The houses currently occupied by us students date back to the early 1900s, when the Fort Sanders magic began. It was an extremely wealthy community in which the large houses we now split into units were once for families of an average size.
The most respected Knoxvillians built homes in the Fort.
Despite the hazard the Fort poses, we have a very interesting privilege to live on a campus with a historical neighborhood in the backyard.
Unfortunately, as this university climbs its way into the top 25, we forget the importance of people who may call this place "home" or the fact that it is a nationally-recognized historical district.
As of Monday, the state granted UT the ability to purchase and demolish three houses in the Fort. These houses are on White Avenue, a street named after a man who was one of the first residents of the area. These homes are actually from the 1900s and were a few of the first to sprout up in this soon to be booming metropolis.
Many people may believe this to be a minute issue, but to the one man who is not in support of his house being stripped from him and torn down to build yet another science building, it is far from miniscule.
Although the chancellor has admitted he does not want to use eminent domain unless necessary, the plans seem to be well on the way of using the full two acres of land the houses sit atop. Not only would this travesty of forcing a man to sell his home for a minimum price and destroying it be uncalled for, it would also remove three of Knox Heritage's "Fragile 15" threatened historic structures.
The goal of Knox Heritage is to save the endangered historical houses from being demolished in Knoxville. This action is only in order to expand the already spread out campus of the University of Tennessee into Fort Sanders. On top of the added construction to campus and demolishment of historical areas, this task is said to cost up to $93 million.
One could assume a tuition hike would be in consideration, but that is merely my intuition.
This building will be used as a lab facility that the chancellor has said he does not plan on expanding further. It has been said that previous chancellors spoke similar words and each time the wheel turns there is a new construction plan to expand into the greater Knoxville area.
Although UT is on the rise, or so we are told, I believe we should take pride in the unique attributes our school has to offer. For those many people with ancestors who resided here, we should not destroy one of the few historical areas in the city of Knoxville.
Although lacking in appearance occasionally, the Fort is home to so many UT students who are making new memories on top of the old ones. Why would we ever interrupt the making of history in a place that is already so rich in historical sustenance?
Annie Blackwood is a junior in communications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.