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Historic Boyd-Harvey House changes hands, future uncertain

An historic pre-Civil War house in West Knox County became the property of Knoxville developer Schubert Builders following an auction Saturday, Oct. 4.

The historic Boyd-Harvey house on Harvey Road in west Knox County was sold at auction Oct. 4 to Alex Schubert representing Schubert Builders.

The house, which was designed by architect Thomas Boyd, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

In addition to the main house, there are two log cabins and a barn on the estate, which were included in the purchase agreement.

The house is clad in red brick and painted clapboard, and has many unique features, including a “spirit door.” Jones describes the door as being “upstairs, over the front porch, and it opens up with nowhere to go; it’s so when someone died in the house, their spirit could leave.”

There is also a low-lying brick structure at the back of the house that appears to be an outdoor oven. A clearing next to the house provides a peaceful seat in the form of a cast-iron and wood bench, nested in short shrubs and willowy young trees.

John Coker Ltd., in New Market, managed this weekend’s estate sale and auction. According to Coker, there are no confirmed plans for development of the land, however renovations to the house are planned, and the log cabins are to be relocated to another property with log cabins already in place.

The rules regarding treatment of buildings on the National Historic Register provide for changes that will enhance the aesthetic and structural appeal. But removing a building, such as the Boyd-Harvey House, altogether, may present other problems.

“I know it has been successfully done,” Coker said, “but I don’t think that’s the intention here.”

The house’s exterior is well-preserved for its age, and with renovation of the interior, it would seem ideal for a bed and breakfast, or perhaps what it has already been labeled as for the most part, a “historic home” open to visitors interested in catching a glimpse of life in Tennessee’s early history.

Bill McSpadden of Schubert Builders confirms that there are plans for renovating it, and possibly reselling it. This may relieve some fears of losing the Boyd-Harvey house in the land development, though the rest of the estate’s future remains uncertain.

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