Thompson-Brown House
Historic Site

by Jennifer Pesterfield and Sarah B. McNiell

Thompson-Brown House, included in the National Register of Historic Places and located at 1004 East Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, Tennessee, is one of the oldest two-story, two pen log buildings in East Tennessee. The exact date of construction or who built it has not been pinpointed, but archeologists believe the house was erected in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. William Thompson purchased the land from Thomas Barclay. Thompson is thought to have built or had the house built. Thompson family story tells of the birth of a daughter in the house in 1823.
The original plat of the land extended from what is now (1998) Blount County Health Department, beyond Brown’s Creek near Smith’s Mortuary, to Brown’s Creek Shopping Center. Deeds describing the early property lines give measurements in “poles and chains,” with corners listed as “a large oak tree” or a “walnut tree” making interpretation difficult for a latter-day researcher.



The house is substantial and well built, but the logs are pine rather than the preferred poplar. These logs, which are fifteen inches wide, are joined in a “V-notch” at the corners, and the spaces between the logs were filled with chinking and daubed with plaster containing animal hair. Later, probably in the early 1870's, boards were attached to the house to protect the logs from the weather because it was no longer fashionable for families to live in a log house. Each floor has the twenty-by-twenty foot rooms with wide pine floorboards. A dogtrot or breezeway may originally have connected the two pens, but archeologists think the space was enclosed into a hallway at building or at least every early in the house’s existence. A brick chimney, now reconstructed, stands at each end of the structure. Each of the four rooms had a fireplace for heat. Archeologists have identified three styles of a front porch in the house’s history and at least two kitchens. The earlier kitchen was an “el,” extending back from the westernmost first floor room. A later kitchen occupied half a full-length back porch and was accessed from that same room.
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