Moved to the Hill
In 1826, the trustees of East Tennessee College decided to move from a building in what is now downtown Knoxville (on the corner of Gay Street and Clinch Avenue) to a new location they purchased west of town, known as the Hill. The trustees were of the opinion that, “The shape of the Hill, the commanding view from it and to it in every direction, the excellence of the water, its distance from the town, being near and yet secluded, its position between the river and main western road ... together with its unquestionable healthfulness, render it a scite [sic] as eligible, almost, as the imagination can conceive.” The Hill is sometimes thought to be the one nicknamed “Barbara Hill,” a reference to the daughter of territorial Governor William Blount, Barbara Blount, who was admitted to Blount College in 1804. The Hill was the principal home of campus buildings from 1826 until the 1920s. During the Civil War, the Union took control of Knoxville and the Union Army built a fortification called Fort Byington on the Hill. After the war, the entrenchments were taken down, campus buildings were repaired as best they could be, and the Hill was re-landscaped. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Hill’s well-known buildings included: Science Hall on the southeastern slope, and on the summit South College (built in 1872), as well as Old College (which had a distinctive cupola), West College, and East College. To make way for Ayres Hall, completed in 1921 and now the most recognized academic building on campus, Old College, West College, and East College were demolished. Science Hall was demolished in 1967. South College is still in use as the oldest building on campus.