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The Sunsphere is perhaps the most prominent piece of architecture that makes up Knoxville's skyline. The Sunsphere was built as a focal piece for the 1982 World's Fair. The structure consists of a gigantic glass ball, 74 feet in height, that sits on top of a 192 feet tall round concrete tower. The glass globe is made of 360 glass panels covered with a 24-carat golddust coating. Within the sphere portion is housed two observation decks and a five-level restaurant, all currently closed to the public. The Sunsphere is in World's Fair Park, where the convention center is located.
Another eclectic example of architecture is found at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, opened in 1999, in which the building's design is dominated by a huge basktball at the front entrance. The hall of fame is located at 700 Hall of Fame Drive on the southeast side of town.
A number of buildings in Knoxville are listed on the national register of historic places. The Blount Mansion, which served as the home of William Blount, the first governor of Tennessee, is recognized as a National Historic Landmark. After falling into disrepair, the mansion was restored, and first opened for tours in the 1930s. The mansion is open for public tours between March and December. Hours of operation are Tues-Sat 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost for admission is $4.95 for adults, $2.50 for children between the ages of 6 and 17, and free for children under the age of 6. The Blount Mansion is located at 200 W. Hill Avenue.
There are several historic districts within the city of Knoxville that preserve a variety of types of architecture. Two of these districts include the Edgewood-Park City Historic District along with the Fairmont Park Neighborhood Conservation District. The Edgewood-Park City Historic District, located between Jefferson and Washington avenues contains houses featuring the styles of the late 19th and early 29th centuries. Several houses within this district were designed by George F. Barbor, a Knoxville native. If Craftsman is more your style, you can see several houses in this style in the Fairmont Park Neighborhood Conservation District. Other Craftsman houses, as well as dwellings in the Queen Anne, Italianate, and Neoclassical styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be found within the Fourth and Gill Historic District.
If you prefer the avant-garde stylings of the 1930s, the Knoxville Post Office and Federal Building, located at 501 Main Street, should be on your list of buildings to see. The Moderne-style building, built in 1930 and designed by Baumann and Baumann features Art Deco ornamentation.
A complete list of buildings on the national register is maintained by the Metropolitan Planning Commission.