Cumberland Estates

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Cumberland Estates
NBC's The House That HOME Built (4116 Royalview Road), built in 1957
NBC's The House That HOME Built (4116 Royalview Road), built in 1957
Location in the State of Tennessee
Location in the State of Tennessee
Cumberland Estates is located in the United States
Cumberland Estates
Cumberland Estates
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°59′02″N 84°00′45″W / 35.98389°N 84.01250°W / 35.98389; -84.01250[1]
CountryUnited States
DeveloperBradley Dean
ArchitectBruce McCarty, and others
Architectural styleMid-century Modern
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Area code865
Zip Code37921

Cumberland Estates is a residential neighborhood in the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, which gained national attention for architectural innovation and research housing in the mid-20th century. It began 2.1 miles outside the city limits, in Knox County, as one of many planned suburban neighborhoods in the post-World War II economic expansion. The development soon attracted an innovative young architect and national sponsors who would create new ways to rapidly and affordably fill the demand for residential housing needs for America’s growing population of families. Their prominent work in the neighborhood influenced the evolution of residential building design. While the attention received from the research homes waned last century, the neighborhood has maintained its residential character with few changes while avoiding commercial encroachment and blight.


It is located seven miles Northwest of downtown Knoxville and lies in the Eastern portion of Tennessee in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The neighborhood is bordered to the East by Victor Ashe Park and West Haven; to the North by Norwood ; to the West by Karns; and to the South by West Hills. Third Creek runs through the neighborhood before emptying into the Tennessee River at the University of Tennessee. The City of Oak Ridge is 14 miles to the west on State Route 62, known locally as Oak Ridge Highway, where many of the neighborhood's first residents worked in the national facilities succeeding the Manhattan Project.[2]

Post-War development[edit]

Cumberland Estates was developed by Bradley Dean in 16 sections during a period of 10 years with the first section recorded at the Knox County Register of Deeds on November 7, 1955, by Dean, President of East Tennessee Development Co., and the final section recorded November 23, 1965, by Dean, at this time president of Dean & Company Inc. The 16 sections were all titled “Cumberland Estates.” The first 13 sections were developed on the north side of Oak Ridge Highway, while the final three were developed south of Oak Ridge Highway. The 16 sections - numbered 1 through 17 while skipping number 13 - each have a Declaration of Restrictions, governing 16 detailed points such as setbacks, minimum square footage, and other building restrictions common to planned suburban neighborhoods.[3]

The development began along Sullivan Road, and was followed with the creation of some 25 miles of new streets, one of which – Palmetto – connects Sullivan Road to Oak Ridge Highway, which, on the plats filed at the Knoxville City-County Building, is often referred to as “Solway Road” or “Solway Highway to Oak Ridge.”[3][4]

Near its completion, Dean was named the 1965 Tennessee Home Builder of the Year, and in 1966 he became president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville.[5][6]

Feature television and research housing[edit]

Two of the homes influenced the post-World War II architectural trends and construction methods. They were designed by architect Bruce McCarty, whose designs represented the most advanced modernist theories applying manufacturing technology to housing design and received national attention and promotions by the National Broadcasting Company and the National Association of Homebuilders.[7]

The House That HOME Built[edit]

In 1957, the producers of the NBC television show, HOME, commissioned McCarty to design a home for their show which introduced homemakers to the latest in design. The morning magazine show sponsored innovative house projects in a feature titled “The House That HOME Built.” McCarty and his wife, Elizabeth, appeared on the program with its host, Arlene Francis, and co-host, Hugh Downs, in its New York studio to discuss this particular house design as well as housing needs expressed by young families.[8][9][10]

The house was based on the planning principles agreed to by the 1956 Women’s Congress on Housing, organized by the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency. The celebrated promotion captured the attention and cooperation of the home builders in the area in a unique venture. The members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville agreed in July 1957 that all the builders participating in the 1957 Parade of Homes should combine efforts in building the McCarty-designed home. It was the first such cooperative venture ever initiated.[10][11]

The house, built at 4116 Royalview Road, was originally owned by Martin L. Bartling Jr, a creative home builder whose houses became nationally recognized. He was president of the National Association of Home Builders in the late 1960s.[12][13]

The first family to live in the house was Loyd and Frances Wilson and their sons, Jeff and Eric, from 1957 to 1964. [14]

1959 NAHB research house[edit]

As the post-war high demand for housing created the need for a more affordable and swifter type of construction, the National Association of Home Builders commissioned McCarty to design a research house in 1959. It was titled “A house for you from America’s homebuilding industry” and was built at 4409 Crestfield Road.[15]

McCarty’s concentration was in breaking down all of the building elements into modular parts that could be prefabricated and organized into well-planned medium-cost housing. These elements included wall panels, closet hardware, kitchen-bathroom cores, and window units. The wall construction design was an interlocking prefabricated wall-panel system consisting of a prefinished interior skin, electrical wiring and insulation, with the modular panels made by the builder off site which could then all be snapped into place at one time. It was considered one of the most adaptable ideas from the research house.[12][16]

Innovative utility-saving features included an electronic toilet using one gallon of water per flush as compared to the usual five, faucet controls reducing water consumption, and full-height room doors eliminating high wall areas that prevent recirculation of central heat and air at ceiling level. Every interior and exterior detail was designed for efficiency and reducing costs, including decorative details which were designed as structural components.[16]

Home styles[edit]

Houses in Cumberland Estates consist primarily of ranch, basement ranch and split-level homes positioned in the neighborhood hills typical of East Tennessee topography. Home designs are largely consistent with the mid-century modern design movement. McCarty’s residential designs were influenced by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. House sizes generally range between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet with lots in size from approximately 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre.[3][17]

Recreation and parks[edit]

Dean included three swimming pools in the development and set aside a 26-acre wooded lot for the creation of the Cumberland Estates Recreation Center, a city-owned facility with meeting rooms, gym, dance studio, outdoor playground and nature trails. It is commonly used for children and senior activities and neighborhood and community meetings.[18]

Bordering Cumberland Estates to the East lies Victor Ashe Park, a 120 acre city park of recreational fields, greenway, dog parks, disc golf, restrooms, playground, and a pond. The neighborhood and park are connected by Third Creek which Dean partially relocated in 1960 to develop section seven between Sullivan and Deerfield Roads.[19][20]

City annexation[edit]

The Cumberland Estates development began 2.1 miles from the city limits. Before it was completed, the Knoxville City Council voted to annex it, as well as other suburban neighborhoods, on Tuesday November 22, 1960, increasing the city’s population by an estimated 70,000 to 181,000, and increasing the overall area of the city from 26.5 square miles to 81 square miles.[4]

The reported population of Cumberland Estates at the time of annexation was 3,050 in 919 dwelling units, and the still developing neighborhood encompassed 3.5 square miles, or approximately 2,240 acres, with 25 miles of streets.[4]

In preparation for the annexation, Knoxville Fire Department Chief Roy Conner announced a proposed new fire station to be located at Oak Ridge Highway and Third Creek.[21]

City Council voted in January 1980 to change the name of Oak Ridge Highway to Western Avenue from Pleasant Ridge Road out to the city limits, becoming the first street name change within the neighborhood.[22]

To maintain a residential flavor along Western Avenue, the Metropolitan Planning Commission adopted a land use plan in 1970 recommending future commercial activity along the highway to be limited to community shopping facilities within and around the Cumberland Estates Shopping Center and single occupant commercial offices along the highway between Ball Camp Pike and Hinton Road.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cumberland Estates
  2. ^ Miller, Mike (8-18-1961). The Knoxville News-Sentinel. p C-8.
  3. ^ a b c Legal Record Cumberland Estates plats filed by Bradley Dean, Knox County, Tennessee; Section 1, 11/7/1955, Book 22, page 79; Section 2, 2/4/1956, Book 22, page 114; Section 3, 10/8/1956, Book 23, page 48; Section 4, 3/19/1957, Book 23, page 51; Section 5, 3/3/1959, Book 24, page 117; Section 6 3/19/1957, Book 23, page 82; Section 7, 2/19/1960, Book 25, page 142; Section 8, 3/20/1958, Book 24, page 31; Section 9, 4/18/1960, Book 26, page 10; Section 10, 4/18/1960, Book 26, page 11; Section 11, 9/27/1960, Book 26, page 200; Section 12, 6/6/1961, Book 27, page 111; Section 14, 5/24/1962, Book 31, page 26; Section 15, 6/21/1962, Book 31, page 81; Section 16, 8/14/1964, Book 38.5, page 52; Section 17, 11/23/1965, Book 42.5, page 41.
  4. ^ a b c "Here Are New Parts of City, Cumberland Estates." 11/27/1960. p. F-8. The Knoxville News-Sentinel.
  5. ^ "Builders Honor Dean." 7/15/1966. The Knoxville Journal.
  6. ^ "Past Presidents of the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville". Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville. 2010. Archived from the original on 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  7. ^ Yates, Sam, "Selected Projects: The Architecture of Bruce McCarty," pgs. 9,16, Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, 2004.
  8. ^ "Knoxville Modernism and Architect Bruce McCarty". Neely, Jack (3-17-2010). Metropulse. 2010. Retrieved 2015-06-20.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Yates, Sam, "Selected Projects: The Architecture of Bruce McCarty," p. 16, Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, 2004.
  10. ^ a b Cunningham, Bob (7-14-1957). " 'Parade' Contractors To Build Model Home." The Knoxville News-Sentinel.
  11. ^ "The House That Home Built," March 11–22, 1957, HOME in review . . ., Vol 2, No 6, Program Edition 784-793.
  12. ^ a b Yates, Sam, "Selected Projects: The Architecture of Bruce McCarty," p. 22, Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, 2004.
  13. ^ Legal Document Warranty Deed between Cumberland Estates, Inc. and Martin L. Bartling Jr. and wife Catherine H. Bartling, Knox County, Tennessee, Book 1049, page 205.
  14. ^ Personal account of Jeff Wilson
  15. ^ Yates, Sam, "Selected Projects: The Architecture of Bruce McCarty," pgs. 9,16,23, Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, 2004.
  16. ^ a b "Tomorrow's Houses-Today. NAHB's Two Research Houses Are Unveiled," January 1959, NAHB JOURNAL of homebuilding, pgs. 39-49, 98.
  17. ^ Yates, Sam, "Selected Projects: The Architecture of Bruce McCarty," p. 21, Ewing Gallery, The University of Tennessee, 2004.
  18. ^ "Cumberland Estates Recreation Center". City of Knoxville. 2014. Archived from the original on 2005-05-26. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
  19. ^ "Victor Ashe Park". City of Knoxville. 2014. Archived from the original on 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2015-06-20.
  20. ^ Legal Record Cumberland Estates plat filed by Bradley Dean, Knox County, Tennessee; Section 7, 2/19/1960, Book 25.
  21. ^ Powell, Leon (10-13-1960). “Sites Picked for 8 New Fire Stations.” The Knoxville News-Sentinel.
  22. ^ "OR Highway Goes Western With Name Change." The Knoxville Journal. (3-24-1981).
  23. ^ Bennett, Jim (4-6-1970). “Residential Growth Foreseen For West Knox Through 1990.” The Knoxville Journal.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°59′02″N 84°00′46″W / 35.983972°N 84.012694°W / 35.983972; -84.012694