The Dogwood Trails were started over 60 years ago in 1955 and the Dogwood Arts organization grew from driving Trails, to an annual Festival, to a month-long celebration, to what it is today, which is year-round activities. The original historic Dogwood Trails have houses that feature Tennessee Pink Marble. When the Trails were established, these neighborhoods were the best-of-the-best. While new Dogwood Trails have been added and our building standards have changed, the appreciation for spring beauty has not.
With so many quarries in the Knoxville area, Tennessee Pink Marble was in ready supply. The primary purpose was for large scale building and sculpture projects. As 5-ton blocks were chiseled out of the ground, naturally there were smaller rocks that essentially were unwanted debris. The men at the quarry would push these smaller pieces to the side and a local Knoxville builder came by to collect the crumbly leftovers.
As you drive the Dogwood Trails, you will see several rough-cut stone houses, chimneys, retaining walls, garden paths, porches, door entries and window decorations that are made from Tennessee Pink Marble. Rough-cut marble looks very different from the finely polished marble used in the national monuments, but it’s the same stone.
Lake Forest Neighborhood, located along the Chapman Highway Dogwood Trail and in the middle of the Urban Wilderness, was the first neighborhood to embrace their Tennessee Pink Marble heritage. While there are houses made from Tennessee Pink Marble all across the city of Knoxville and in East Tennessee, South Knoxville has the unique advantage of encompassing a quarry (Ijams Nature Center), historic homes (Marble Springs), residential homes and the marble showroom (Candoro). Literally, along the Urban Wilderness Trails, you can walk from the quarry to Lake Forest Neighborhood in just a couple of hours.
All the Dogwood Trails are lovely in April, but if you definitely want to see Tennessee Pink Marble, then drive: Chapman Highway, Fountain City (East and West), Island Home, North Hills, Holston Hills, Sequoyah Hills, and Westmoreland.
Some of the houses wear a more brick-like cut of the marble, instead of the irregular sized rough cut pieces. Can you spot them as you drive the Trails?
Dogwood Trail Maps:
Dogwood Trail Descriptions: