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Something Old, Something New



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Story by Gay Lyons | Photography by Ben Finch

Anne White did not set out to purchase and restore the historic Federal style Boyd-Harvey House, but she recalls being captivated by the house the first time she saw it many years ago. While living in a nearby subdivision, an unexpected turn onto Harvey Road on a snowy December day led her to drive past the home, which was decorated for Christmas. “I thought the house was beautiful,” she said, “but, honestly, then I forgot about it.”

Flash forward to 2017: Anne, realizing she would soon be an empty nester, started looking for a condo in downtown Knoxville. “Finding a three bedroom loft was harder than I expected,” she
said, “so one day I let my filters on Zillow show me what was available in the Concord/Choto area where I was still living. To my surprise, I saw a photo of the home I had admired so many years before.”

“Out of curiosity, I took a tour,” she continued. “I learned that it was on the National Register of Historic Places and almost 200 years old. It was the opposite of what I was looking to buy at this stage in life. I wanted to downsize, simplify, sell all my furniture, enjoy maintenance-free living, no lawn and maybe have one clay pot of herbs and one pot of annuals.”

What Anne has instead is a two-acre piece of property that includes the brick main house, a two-bedroom carriage house, a stables-turned-entertainment-area that includes a firepit, a saltwater pool and hot tub, a shade garden and a long history.

“The house has been through a lot and has stood the test of time,” said Anne. “It was unoccupied for almost four years in the 1970s and was almost condemned”

According to historic records, Thomas Boyd was among the first European settlers in the area. In 1780, he and his wife settled on several hundred acres of land along Turkey Creek. Before his death, he transferred a portion of his land to one of his sons, Thomas, who was a principal figure in the construction and building of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. A portion of this railroad (now the Southern Railway) lies approximately one-half mile north of the Boyd-Harvey House. Thomas and his wife, Anna, built the brick Federal style main house in about 1835. 

A few years before his death, Thomas sold 395 acres to James Baxter Boyd, one of his seven children. James Baxter Boyd left the house and several hundred acres of land to his daughter, Nita A. Boyd, who sold the house and 200 acres of land to Maryville College in 1917. In 1920 the house and 175 acres were sold to James R. Harvey. The Harvey family and their children lived in the house until 1973 when Jeannie D. Harvey sold the house and some of the land.

Anne is grateful to those who started the rehabilitation and restoration process. “I am amazed and thankful that no one ever gutted the home and tried to make it into ‘open concept’ living,” she said. “If that had happened, a lot of its charm and history would have been lost. I feel like prior owners fell in love with it, too, and wanted to protect its historical charm while incorporating modern touches.”

“Restoring it has been a labor of love,” she continued. “I initially thought the property might be well-suited as a small event venue, but I have since realized that the home and grounds, nestled into a quaint area along Harvey Road, would make a lovely B&B, with a boutique style that blends old and new. It’s a place where people can learn about the history of the house and what life was like in the Shady Grove/Choto community.”

“Since purchasing the house, I have learned that life can sometimes take you down roads that you never imagined going down, and they can be bumpy,” said Anne, “but if you persevere, you can learn a lot about yourself, grow in ways that you never imagined and possibly find your passion.”

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