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Smokestack that towered over Lakeshore Park is gone | News

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Smokestack that towered over Lakeshore Park is gone

A smokestack that towered over Lakeshore Park for decades, a vestige of when that property served as a mental health institute for East Tennessee, is gone.

Lakeshore's legacy filled with success and stigma

Earlier this week, crews demolished the smokestack of Lakeshore's old boiler house. Jesse Mayshark, communications director for the City of Knoxville, said the smokestack was unstable because it was cracked, so crews stood back during the demolition as a precaution. No one was hurt when the smokestack came down. You can watch the demolition in the video above.

How Lakeshore Park came to be

The boiler house was among about 10 buildings, which have sat vacant for years, the city is tearing down to free up space for the 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 smokestack.

The 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 is converting the property entirely into a public parkland. The city is renovating some of the buildings that have historical significance, like the Administration Building.

ID=12364001The Administration Building is the oldest structure on the property, built in 1886.

Before the buildings were demolished, WBIR 10News got an up close look at the structures that were part of the former mental health institute.

ID=12359479The property first became the site of a mental health facility in 1886, when it was known as the East Tennessee Hospital for Insane.

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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