Church Avenue might seem an enigma to most modern day residents of Knoxville. Under the name Church Ave., it extends from Hall of Fame Drive west to Henley Street. In the stretch, one comes across only one church, First Presbyterian. It, however, faces State Street, so really there are no churches facing Church Avenue. What makes things even more confusing is that Church Street United Methodist Church, is on Henley Street, two blocks south of Church Avenue. Obviously this wasn't always the case. Church Street Methodist, was once located on Church Avenue, as were several other churches. Church Avenue was once a thriving thoroughfare teaming with residences and businesses (and of course, churches). Today, however, one might argue that Church Avenue has seen more demolition than any other street in downtown Knoxville. Every block of Church Avenue has suffered from demolition and, excepting the block where the Knoxville Hilton stands, each now sports a surface parking lot.
Our subject property is today a surface parking lot, located behind the St. John's Episcopal Church. If you were to walk there from Gay Street, you would turn west at the surface parking lot, go one block to the large surface parking lot on the right, and it would be the surface parking lot across the street. But of course, this wasn't always the case. 414 W. Church was once one of the most visited spots in downtown Knoxville. That's not to say that most enjoyed visiting because 414 was the location of the Mann Mortuary. If you lived in Knoxville between the 1920s and 1970, you're life likely included a trip to Mann's.