UT announces $4 million proposal to sell historic Eugenia Williams Home to Knoxville nonprofit


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee announced Tuesday they are set to complete the $4 million sale of the historic Eugenia Williams Home to local preservation non-profit, Aslan Foundation.

Pending approval by the State Building Commission Executive Subcommittee on Oct. 31., The Aslan Foundation will pay the University of Tennessee $4.025 million with provisions to preserve the house and retain the natural beauty of the property.

Proceeds from the sale will be directed to establish the UT Knoxville Promise Dr. David Hitt Williams Endowment, in honor of Williams’ father. UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that will guarantee free tuition and fees for students with a family household income of under $50,000 and after other financial aid is received.

Eugenia Williams was born in January 1900 to a prominent physician, who was one of the original investors who introduced Coca-Cola to East Tennessee. The 10,800-square-foot house at 4848 Lyons View Pike was designed by renowned architect John Fanz Staub.  Ms. Williams left the house and the 24-acre property on the Tennessee River to the University of Tennessee after her death in 1998. 

“We are excited to have a buyer that will not only preserve, but restore the home and property,” Interim UT President Randy Boyd said. “This is a win-win for our community and for lower-income students wanting to achieve their dream of attending UT.”

The Aslan Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Knoxville whose funding priorities include arts and culture, historic preservation, animal welfare, land conservation, outdoor recreation, and advancing livability in Knoxville. The foundation has contributed to other prominent local landmarks such as High Ground Park, Fort Higley’s Civil War earthworks as well as the current rehabilitation of both the Candoro Marble Building and Loghaven’s historic log cabins.

“The Aslan Foundation’s purchase of the Eugenia Williams House from the University of Tennessee aligns with the foundation’s mission of preserving beauty, advancing livability and supporting cultural assets in the Knoxville area,” said Andrea Bailey, executive director of the Aslan Foundation. “In particular, historic preservation is a key funding priority for the foundation, and we are pleased to be a part of ensuring that this building and its grounds are preserved for future public use and appreciation. The Eugenia Williams House is a regional and national treasure, containing important architectural elements and reflecting the role of one of Knoxville’s prominent families. We plan to immediately evaluate and stabilize the house, in addition to hiring an architect to develop historic preservations plan. Over the long term, we will work closely with the community to determine its highest and best use.”

Knox Heritage said: it is “very pleased that the Aslan Foundation may be taking ownership of the Eugenia Williams House. The Aslan Foundation saved Historic Westwood, now the headquarters of Knox Heritage, by purchasing the c. 1890 residence and contributing to its capital campaign. The Foundation’s commitment to preserving places of character in our community, such as Loghaven and Candorro, bodes well for the future of the Williams property.

“If the sale proceeds, Knox Heritage will hold a preservation easement on the Eugenia Williams house which will continue to protect the structure from demolition and inappropriate alterations. The University of Tennessee should be applauded for developing an effective solution that will honor Dr. Williams’ legacy through a scholarship program while protecting his daughter’s iconic home.”


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