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Historic Bleak House, Knoxville

#8 of 11 in Historic Sites in Knoxville
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Bleak House is an antebellum Classical Revival style house in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house was first occupied by Robert Houston Armstrong and his wife, Louisa Franklin. It was built for the couple as a wedding gift by the bride's father, Major Lawson D. Franklin. Robert Armstrong's father, Drury Armstrong, gave them the land. The Armstrongs named the house after Charles Dickens' "Bleak House" novel of the same name. The bricks in the house were molded on-site using slave labor.
The home was used by Confederate Generals James Longstreet and Lafayette McLaws as their headquarters during the 1863 Battle of Knoxville. Three Confederate sharpshooters who were stationed in the house's tower were killed by Union cannonballs. Two of the cannonballs are still embedded in the walls, and Civil War-era sketches of the slain soldiers are displayed on the walls of the tower.
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Historic Bleak House reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
24 reviews
  • I will highly recommend calling prior to going as the hours are limited and the website isn't always accurate. There is parking on site and tours are $10. I went during hours posted; however, the...  more »
  • I am a Yank myself but fully appreciate our shared history. This home is beautiful- we did not go in due to the pandemic and it was closed. It was very cool seeing the bullet holes in the brick.  more »
  • Had my wedding here. It was beautiful. Ms. Rose was so kind.
  • The Bleak House was a gorgeous venue for our wedding. In the beginning of planning stages, the staff were great to work with and communicated well. The person who usually assisted with weddings was out of town the week of our wedding. We had communicated with person who covering what time All Occasion rentals would arrive to set up the day before. All Occasions arrived with no there to let them in. The person did not show up till 3 hours later. On that same day we notices that the grounds flowers and greenery had been sprayed the week before. Plants were dead and there were no flowers. We had to rush out and buy ferns and flowers to fill in the empty spaces. On the day of the wedding my family and I arrives at 9am to finish setting up. Again there was no one there to let us in. The person covering did not have her phone on and my uncles had to remove the bolts on the gates so we could set up. The house was locked and photographers were there to take pictures of the our rings and the dress. We had to call Board Members to come and unlock the house. It wasn't till 11:30 someone finally showed. About an hour before the wedding we were finishing up pictures the parking lot security was allowing people to walk through house. The person who didn't show up to tell us in both days recognized a wedding guest as a friend. She then decided to give a tour of house while the wedding party was still in the house. I had to go hide in a bathroom because i did not want to be seen before the wedding. the venue is beautiful, the history of house is amazing, but it ran by volunteers. As a bride be prepared for lack of professionalism and over communicate.

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