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Gump Addition among the region's most historic neighborhoods

Sue Guinn Legg • Mar 24, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Up for consideration for a place on the National Register of Historic Places, Johnson City’s Gump Addition is believed to be the first planned residential subdivision in the Tri-Cities area.

Situated on what was an approximate 160-acre farm about one mile northeast of downtown Johnson City, the property was purchased by businessman Harry D. Gump in 1907.

The farm later became the site of city’s first country club complete with a nine-hole golf course and also the site of the city’s first landing strip for airplanes.

In the 1920s, Gump commissioned landscape architect E.S. Draper of Charlotte, N.C., to design the subdivision originally named Hillrise Park.

The neighborhood was laid out around the boulevard, fittingly named Hillrise Boulevard, that stretched uphill from East Holston Avenue to near what is now Oakland Avenue.

Today the neighborhood includes more than 120 architecturally unique homes that were built sporadically over the course of a more than half a century.

The houses include many neoclassical-style homes as well as mid-century modern homes designed by local architect Alfred Abernathy.

The original Gump farmhouse, built in 1820 and carefully renovated at the turn of the century, still stands on a 2.7-acre lot between Hillrise Boulevard and East Holston Avenue.

In an letter to the Tennessee Historic Commission, Johnson City Historic Zoning Commission Chairman Dr. Harold Hunter wrote, “When looking at the variety of styles throughout the area, one can see the impact of the economic climate of the country throughout the 20th Century.”

Hunter also related to the state Historic Commission that the homes in what is now known as the Gump Addition have been “well maintained with very little alteration.”

In August, the Tennessee Historical Commission responded with the award of a $12,000 matching grant to survey the area and begin the process of nominating the neighborhood for a place on the National Register.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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