$100,000 pledge gives hope to groups fighting to save historic house | News
(WBIR - North Knoxville) A Knoxville group working to save a historic home saw big boost to those efforts this week in the form of a surprise donation.
A $100,000 pledge came with a goal of saving the historic Howard House along north Broadway.
The potential fate of that house spurred a spike in interest.
"We went online and created an online petition and within 12 hours there were over 4,000 signatures and a lot of people asking how they could contribute to saving that house," said Knox Heritage executive director Kim Trent.
After taking their campaign to save the Howard House online - Knox Heritage received a $100,000 challenge grant. A promise that if they raise $1.2 million dollars an anonymous donor will kick in the last $100,000 to help them meet their goal.
"Everyone is clamoring for this place to be saved so it's time for everyone to put their money where their mouth is," said Trent.
The timeline to raise money is as soon as possible.
According to Knox Heritage, the sooner they raise the funds, the sooner they can beat any developers offer to turn the home into a retail space - like a Walmart or big box store.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have seen and responded to the story and if each one could just give a little bit toward this cause we would save this amazing place and help save even more places for decades to come," explained Trent.
Tim Howard, son of the home's owner Paul Howard, said over the phone his family is thankful for everyone working to raise money to save the house.
Howard's family plans to meet with attorneys on Thursday to come up with a plan to pool the community's fundraising efforts into one organized plan.
"We are absolutely thrilled and it's a real blessing to have people care about the home the way we do," said Howard.
For folks in North Knoxville, this anonymous pledge is a sign of hope that they can accomplish their goal and keep a Knoxville staple standing.
"When people come visit Knoxville they don't say gosh I'd like to go see another box store. This is what makes them think our city is different, the unique structures that talk about the history, the architects that lived and trained here 100 years ago," said Old North Knoxville Board member Lauren Rider.
Tim Howard says the family can't afford to maintain the home and would like it to end up with someone who work to preserve it.
Old North Knoxville would like to see the home used by a family or turned into an office space for the community to use.