Place Ad
Contact Us

Fox Den turns 40

Fox Den subdivision, the second-oldest subdivision in Farragut, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and marking the 10th year it is host to the Knoxville Open, which begins Thursday, June 11.

“The early subdivisions like Village Green and Fox Den set the tone for the type of residential development that would occur in the future,” Joel Garber, Fox Den resident and former aldermen, said.

Fox Den existed for more than 10 years before Farragut was incorporated in 1980, and the subdivision was built with cutting-edge design and technology.

“You can’t talk about how Fox Den has changed without talking about the general area, including the incorporation of the Town,” Garber said.

“The changes the extremely large amount of residential growth has brought is quite amazing,” Garber said, adding when he moved to Farragut in the late 60s, the first traffic light on Kingston Pike was at Cedar Bluff.

“Some of us still wish for the old days,” he added with a laugh.

Fox Den was founded by Chester Massey, a Knoxville insurance executive, who passed away in January 2007 at age 84. The subdivision was built as a “community complex,” a new thought in residential development.

Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission approved the subdivision’s first 78 lots in May 1968, and according to long-time Fox Den resident and historian Bob Fraim, 70 of those lots were sold by fall, before even the streets and curbs had been built.

Fraim’s history of Fox Den, entitled “Then and Now: The History of Fox Den Country Club,” said the lots sold for between $6,000 and $12,000.

After the first lots were developed, residents gathered on Friday evenings for “Sundown-ers,” a grill-out and fellowship time after a round of golf.

“There were just one or two houses in the area. We kind of took Friday or Saturday evenings and tried to make a party of it for the golfers,” Fraim said.

“The ladies put together the meal; the fellas put together the golf and just about dusk, everyone settled in under the big walnut trees.

“Tom Foree, our second pro, was always master chef and he fixed the steaks,” and the wives of golfers would fix salads in large metal washtubs, Fraim said.

“We probably had more fun for less money over years of doing that,” he added.

At that time, Fox Den’s gatehouse was built, serving as Fox Den’s office for several years, then becoming a real estate office for the subdivision, and later, for elsewhere. The building was demolished in 2008.

After the first lots were developed, Cousins Properties Inc. and Marteq Corporation headed development of the subdivision.

“The land comprising Fox Den was, except for a few acres, owned by Dick Huntley, Spencer Smith, George Potter and O.K. Everett,” Fraim said in “Then and Now.”

According to Fraim, the former Oliver Kermit Everett farmhouse served as the first clubhouse and pro shop, opening in 1969. The second clubhouse, which currently houses the subdivision’s fitness center, opened to members in 1971.

In 1994, Fox Den’s board of directors announced construction of the subdivision’s current 34,000 square-foot clubhouse, which opened in June 1995.

Willard Byrd and Associates created the golf course, which was completed in 1970.

In “Then and Now,” Byrd is quoted as saying “Fox Den is without a doubt one of the most beautiful pieces of land I’ve ever worked on.

“It has everything: rolling hills, beautiful wooded areas and long fairway stretches, all located in front of the magnificent backdrop of the Great Smokies. … It will be one of the most exacting and exciting 18 holes in America.”

According to 90-year-old Tom Foree, one of Fox Den’s earliest pros, the first nine holes opened in May 1969, the “back nine opened in 1970 and it’s been completely operative since then.”

Mickey Bessignano was Fox Den’s first pro, but “he [didn’t] get along with the members,” Foree said.

“I came down from Ohio and took it over,” Foree said. Foree was hired in 1969 and retired after 15 years. He still lives in the subdivision.

He could not recall many stories to tell about life or golf in Fox Den.

“It was just normal, routine golf played while I was there,” he said.

Over the years, President Ronald Reagan and pro golfers Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer have played the course.

According to Fraim, the Rev. Billy Graham was interrupted during play at Fox Den’s 6th hole by a telephone call from then-President Richard M. Nixon.

“It was not of a crisis nature … but indeed he did get a call from Richard Nixon,” Fraim said.

“It was not a monumental, ‘Oh my gracious, what’s going to happen to the world’ kind of thing,” he added.

Fox Den has been home to the Knoxville Open since 1999.


News | Opinion | Sports | Business | Community | Schools | Obituaries | Announcements
Classifieds | Place Ad | Advertising | Contact Us | Archives | Search

© 2004-2017 farragutpress