Annexation (1962)

New Book

Images of America: Fountain City

A Brief History of Fountain City

Our Artists

Russell Briscoe

John Chumley

Bill Kidwell

Our Mansions



Lakeview- Hu Woodward

Ridgefield- Charles J. McClung


Roy C. Acuff

John Adair

Our Authors

Berry, Ellen M.

Josephine Breeding

Harvey Broome

Carlos Campbell

Claudius Capps

W.A.A. Conner

(Conner Cemetery)

John I. Copeland

Robert Cunningham

Lee M. Davis

George R. Dempster

N.B. (Red) Eubank

Sol George

John W. Green

Hassie K. Gresham

Nannie Lee Hicks

The Holbrooks

Mary Frances Housley

John L. Humbard

Mary B. Hunter

J. Howard Karnes

R.N. Kesterson

Hubert D. Lakin

Bruce R. McCampbell

Hugh L. McClung

James McMillan

Isaac P. Martin

Walter E. Miller

Gideon H. Morgan

Claude Myers

W. Warren Nichols

Our Early Principals

Harvey Robinson

Henry T. Seymour

John Smith

Robert L. Suffridge

Lucy C. Templeton

Samuel L. Tillery

O'dell Willis

Frank B. Wininger


Project in progress






Fountain City News


Fountain City:

People Who Made a Difference

(Including the story of its historic sites and mansions)

J.C. (Jim) Tumblin

The book will be available on Honor Fountain City Day (May 30 in Fountain City Park), 

at the Fountain City Art Center and at local bookstores.



McCarthy via Oprah via Neely

A Walk with Cormac McCarthy and Suttree


A Century of Pride and Tradition

Central High School (1906-2006)

          Click here       



The Station (Circa 1900)


Our Mission

Until 1962 Fountain City, Tennessee was the largest unincorporated city in the U.S.  with a population of approximately 30,000.  Upon annexation into the City of Knoxville, the suburb maintained its own identity with immense community pride.  It remains a desirable place to work and to live. 

Fountain City is unique.  It has a sense of its history, including places and people who made a difference in life within the community and beyond  it.   This site honors those places and those people who made a difference.

Contact Information

Our intent is to facilitate information exchange on each subject or person.  We encourage those who can to contribute more facts, more references, more photographs or otherwise contribute to the record of the history of Fountain City and to the legacy of those who made a difference in our lives.  Please contact the webmaster for additional information.


The author has not intentionally violated any copyrights or used protected material. To his knowledge, every precautionary step has been taken to insure that sources have been credited and that no protected documents have been used. The materials are presented for educational purposes and for scholarly research.  If anyone detects a source that has not been credited or suspects that a protected document has been used inadvertently, please contact the Webmaster and immediate steps will be taken to correct any problem.


The materials on this website are under copyright.

They may be used  in research, teaching and private study. You may reproduce (print, make photocopies or download) short excerpts from this website for these purposes without prior permission on the condition that you properly cite the source in all copies. Please see the example below.

For other uses of materials from the website (for example, commercial products, publication, broadcast, mirroring, reuse on a website, or anything else that does not fall under the legal definition of "fair use"); we require that you contact the Webmaster in advance for permission to reproduce the materials.  Contact information is given below.   If requesting permission to use materials from our site, please be prepared to refer specifically to the information you intend to use.

Citation Information

Short quotations may be used for educational purposes provided proper attribution is given.  To cite our sources you should refer to the particular subject(s) (text, database or graphic image),  provide the author's name and indicate the web address of the item.

For example, the appropriate citation for a quote from the essay on the Fountain Head Railway ("The Dummy Line")  would be as follows:

Fountain Head Railway ("The Dummy Line"), Book in Preparation Fountain City, Places and People Who Made a Difference, J.C.  (Jim) Tumblin, OD, DOS (


J.C. Tumblin, OD, DOS

Dr. J.C. (Jim) Tumblin is a Fountain City native and the eldest of the late Earl L. and Gladys C. Tumblin's three sons. 

His father, Earl L. Tumblin,  a son of the Superintendent of Crescent Hosiery Mills, grew up in Niota, McMinn County, Tennessee.  Earl was a telegraph operator for the Southern Railway until the 1920s when he became a life underwriter for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New York (now AXA).  He later became District Manager of Equitable in Columbia, then Nashville and finally Knoxville.  His inspirational talk "The Road of Life" was delivered before many insurance conferences.

Earl L. Tumblin (Circa 1960)

Gladys Conner was the daughter of Perry B. Conner, Chief Chemist for the Knox Knitting Mills.  She was the grandniece of W.A.A. Conner who owned 86 acres of land between Smithwood and Broadway in the 1800s. W.A.A. Conner's home place was the historic house that was remodeled for Mynatt Funeral Home.  Conner Avenue, Conner Station and Rennoc Road (Conner spelled backward) are all named for him.  

Gladys Conner's family home place was on Fourth Avenue and C Street in Old Fountain City. The home faced Franklin Park which was known as "The Holler" to her boys and to many who used a path through the park to walk from their homes on Cedar Lane or nearby streets to Fountain City Grammar School. While playing in the Holler, a ten year old could strap on his Lash LaRue or Hopalong Cassidy cap pistols and pretend he was riding through Copper Canyon, Arizona.  Or, he could swing on the grape vines and play Tarzan, the Ape Man.

East Tennessee had not yet emerged from the Great Depression in the mid-1930s and 1940s.  The South's "Marshall Plan" (TVA, ORNL and Alcoa) had barely arrived.  In spite of that, the Tumblin family home in Adair Gardens was in an almost idyllic neighborhood in the mind of threeTumblin  boys.  Much of the activity centered around the "Three-Cornered Place," a place dear to the hearts of the children in the following families: (West to East from Broadway) Cunnningham, Hartman, Blum, Tate, Morris, Smith, Hillhouse, Rugg, Simpson, Cruze, Clark, Hiscock, Waters, Collette, Foster, Vandergriff, Galyon, Tumblin, Petree, Skaggs, Fair, Stooksbury, LaForge and Hodgson.  

In their youth, Jim and his brothers, Richard E. Tumblin, ChFC, CLU, and John D. Tumblin, OD, DOS,  were all members of Boy Scout Troop 3 at First Christian Church. All three became patrol leaders and attained Eagle Rank.  Their scouting days at Camp Pellissippi very early in its development and their hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains provide wonderful memories.

Richard E., John D., Earl L., Gladys C.  and Jim C. Tumblin 

at their home, 205 Adair Drive (Circa 1940)

Troop 3, Bob White Patrol: Jim Tumblin, Jack Wyatt, Joe Morgan, Carl Morris, Tom Pearce

(Circa 1940)

After graduating from Knoxville Central High School (Class of 1944), Jim spent two years in the Navy NROTC/V-12/V-5 program and then attended the Illinois College of Optometry, graduating in 1948.  He established his practice in the Fountain City Bank Building the following year.  He was recalled during the Korean War and served as a 1st Lieutenant (Medical Service Corps) as Chief of the Optometric Clinic at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  He returned to practice in a professional building at 4836 North Broadway (present location of Ruby Tuesday Restaurant) for several years.  For the final 21 years of his 46 years in practice, his office was in the historic Fountainhead Building at the corner of Hotel Avenue and Broadway.

He was elected President of the Tennessee Optometric Association in 1962 and  became a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association in 1964.  He was elected President of the AOA in 1972. 

Tumblin delivers the Inaugural Address "Building Bridges of Understanding" 

to the House of Delegates of the AOA (1972)

After nine years of service as Director of Research for the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (1974-1983), he was elected President of the Foundation and served in that office from 1983 to 1987.

Before retirement, Dr. Tumblin practiced General Optometry and specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of the vision problems of children, youth and adults with  visually-related learning difficulties. He retired in 1996.

In 1975, Tumblin was named Tennessee's Optometrist of the Year.  He was the Fountain City Man of the Year in 1999 and was awarded the Claude Myers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

He is the co-author of Images of America: Fountain City (Arcadia Publishing, 2004) and the author of Central High School (1906-2006): A Century of Pride and Tradition (Coleman Printing, 2006).  For several years he has written a monthly column for the Halls-Fountain City Shopper News called "Fountain City Facts, Myths and Mysteries."

Dr. Tumblin and his wife Peggy enjoy flower and vegetable gardening, travel and the pursuit of East Tennessee history during their leisure hours.

In Memorium: Evelyn R. "Peggy" Tumblin passed away on July 12, 2006,  survived by  her husband of 54-years and four sisters, Jo, Ruth, Bobbie, and Donna.  Peggy was secretary to the director of the Knoxville Zoo for eleven years, a former President of the Auxiliary to the Tennessee Optometric Association and a long-time member and immediate Past-President of the Board of Directors of the Mabry-Hazen House Museum. She was preceded in death by her infant son and is interred in Lynnhurst Cemetery.

Contact Information Telephone (865) 687-1948 * Email <>

Updated 5/8/02,  7/27/02,  8/24/02,  9/10/02, 10/1/02, 10/17/02, 12/11/02, 2/28/03,  6/18/03, 8/20/03, 6/28/05, 8/3/05, 8/26/05, 10/8/05, 1/7/06, 1/9/06, 5/4/06, 12/22/06, 4/30/07, 6/9/07


Dry Land Navy In Training
U.S. Navy V-12 Program, Milligan College, TN, 1945
(L to R) A. Carpenter, S. Johnson, E. Hargis, E. Baker, C. Leach, J. Tumblin, H. Knopf
(Photo by  C. Bond)

Fifty Years Later
Reunion, U.S. Navy V-12 Program, Milligan College, TN, 1994
(L to R) C. Bond,  S. Johnson, E. Hargis, C. Leach, E. Baker, J. Tumblin, H. Knopf 
(V-12 photos courtesy of Prof. Stan Johnson)