KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It can be called the heartbeat of downtown Knoxville.

If you’ve ever driven down Gay Street, you know that it is the home to many of the city’s theaters, museums, parks, shops, restaurants and more.

Known for being the city’s first paved road, Gay Street has actually been a pivotal focal point of the city’s history since the late 1700s.

According to the Visit Knoxville website, Gay Street was the host of the Constitutional Convention that lead to the founding of the state of Tennessee. Also, with East Tennessean’s loyalties split on the eve of the Civil War, the street was the site of both Union and Confederate recruiting rallies.

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For a full look at the history of Gay Street go to and