Church of the Immaculate Conception
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is at 414 West Vine Avenue. The Victorian Gothic building, designed by Joseph F. Baumann, began construction in 1883 and was completed three years later. It was the first Catholic church in East Tennessee and the second one in the state. Its first priest was Father Abram Ryan, known as the poet-priest of the Confederacy. The church was constructed in part because of the nearby Irish community. The clock tower was erected in 1886, and its chimes have become familiar to downtown Knoxvillians.
Of course, the site of the church once had a far more sinister purpose. Summit Hill, where the church stands, was once known as Gallows Hill, the site of countless executions during Knoxville’s wild frontier days.
Although it is a Catholic parish, the seat of the Bishop is not in Knoxville, but in Bearden.