Everyone in Knoxville knows that April is the prettiest month! It’s hard to compete with the lovely fall foliage, but the white lacy blossoms of the dogwood trees are everywhere in town win the contest hands down. There are a few places in the city of Knoxville where spring beauty is at it’s peak, and those are along the Dogwood Trails. Many of those who have lived in Knoxville since they were children have fond memories of Sunday afternoon drives through the neighborhoods across town following the dashed pink lines of the Dogwood Trails.
Making Knoxville Beautiful
Because of continual efforts for more than 60 years, publications only have positive things to say about how beautiful the city of Knoxville is – especially in the springtime. The Dogwood Trails began as a civic beautification project in 1955 spearheaded by members of the Knoxville Garden Club, Betsey Creekmore, Martha Ashe and Betsy Goodson, along with a group of concerned citizens in reaction to an insulting review. Previously in 1947, New York newspaper reporter John Gunther, came into town, checked out the area, then returned to New York and wrote “Knoxville is the ugliest city I ever saw in America, with the possible exception of some mill towns in New England. Its main street is called Gay Street; this seemed to me to be a misnomer.”
Developing the Dogwoods
Of course, dogwoods have always grown naturally in this area and there are many dogwood trees that are native species, but Howell Nursery (now the site of the Knoxville Botanical Garden) actually developed the Cherokee Chief Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’) that has been sold all over the country.
With the extensive history of the Howell Nursery, the Knoxville Botanical Garden began a collection of our native dogwoods and their many varieties. Several acres of the former Howell Nursery were designated as the site for a dogwood collection in 2011 with irrigation lines and the building of the primary trail. The collection quickly grew to contain over 20 cultivars of our native Cornus florida, 16 distinct species and dozens of varieties of other Cornus family members. This walking trail is lovely year round, but especially in the spring.
Neighborhoods along the Dogwood Trails
The neighborhoods along the Dogwood Trails enjoy a certain prestige that this designation brings. The standards for lawn care and maintenance are a little higher than your typical neighborhood street. Driving along the Dogwood Trails, it’s a pretty common experience to find a house you’d like to know more about, so contact us here, or call us at 865-577-7575.
[click below to view maps]:
Fountain City [East] & Fountain City [West]
Dogwood Trail Descriptions
Some Dogwood Arts Milestones
1955: Dogwood Trails are established
1961: First Dogwood Arts Festival
1970: Bob Hope appears at Festival
1972: Elvis Presley performs at Stokley Athletics Center
1977: First Limited Edition Print
1978: House & Garden Show established
1979: A Very Special Arts Festival established
2009: Bazillion Blooms and Chalk Walk established
2010: Dogwood Arts Festival celebrates 50 years
2015: 55th anniversary of the Dogwood Arts and 61st anniversary of the Dogwood Trails