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Smokestack towering over Lakeshore Park will soon be gone | News

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Smokestack towering over Lakeshore Park will soon be gone

Soon the smokestack that has towered over Lakeshore Park for decades, a vestige of when that property served as a mental health institute for upper East Tennessee, will be gone.

Lakeshore's legacy filled with success and stigma

Crews plan to start demolishing the smokestack of the Lakeshore's old boiler house on Tuesday. NEO Corporation, the contractor in charge of the demolition, will pull down the smokestack in five-foot sections.

The boiler house is among almost 10 buildings, which have sat vacant for years, the city plans to tear down to free up space for the park.

City unveils future plans for Lakeshore Park

"We've got great views," said Joe Walsh, director of Knoxville Parks and Recreation. "We're creating a lot of overlooks and vistas for people to walk and look, and we're preserving as many trees as we can."

The city plans to recycle bricks from the smokestacks.

ID=12359479The demolition process is on schedule, but the city has added a bit more work to the contract after coming in under budget.

The west Knoxville property used to be the site of the former Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, which provided mental health services for hundreds of people for 126 years. The institute closed in 2012, and now the city plans to convert the property entirely into a public parkland.

Several of the buildings featured in this gallery will remain, but the City of Knoxville will tear the majority down. Before the buildings are demolished, WBIR 10News got an up close look at the structures that were part of the former mental health institute.

How Lakeshore Park came to be

The property first became the site of a mental health facility in 1886, when it was known as the East Tennessee Hospital for Insane.

The oldest building on the property, the Administration Building, was built two years before the hospital opened. The city has decided to renovate that building because of its historical significance.

In 1927, the East Tennessee Hospital for Insane was renamed Eastern Psychiatric Hospital. During its peak in the 1960s, the hospital housed about 2,800 patients. In many respects, the property was a city in itself, boasting a boiler plant, a water tower and more than a dozen buildings.

In 1977, Eastern Psychiatric Hospital was renamed the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.


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