Colonial Village History



Provided by Sharon Webb Colonial Village resident and board member

1917 - Year of Annexation into Knoxville for small area of south Knox County.

1930 -  Year that construction of Henley Street Bridge began. (September 22, 1930)

1932 - Year that Henley Street Bridge opened. (January 1932)

1934 - 1936 - The Knoxville City Directories still does not list Chapman Highway.             By  1934, it was referred to as the new Servierville road.

1940 - Colonial Village registered in city deed books - 18 Sept. 1940

1944 - Chapman Highway is listed in the Knoxville City Directory -- all the way to
           6000 block.  (Intersection of Colonial Road)

1944 -In what would become Colonial Village, these were the only residential section           streets at this time: Stone, Magazine, Neubert Springs, Old Valley, West Ford           Valley, Colonial, West Redbud  and Mapleloop Roads, also Mayflower,
          Catlett, Royal Heights, Lakeview and Brandau Drives.

 1945 - The area between West Ford Valley and Chapman Highway, was still an              open  field.

                                      SAMUEL A McCALL FARM

The area of the 6000 block of Chapman Highway, was a part of the original 200 acre farm of Samuel A McCall (1856-1934). The new highway, went through the middle of his property. This proved to be disastrous for Mr. McCall. On October 28, 1934, while attempting to cross the new road to get to his barn to feed his livestock, he was struck by an automobile and died later that evening at Ft. Sanders Hospital. Note: When Mr. McCall wrote his Will in 1932, he stated he had seventy-three and one-half acres left to distribute to his heirs.

The rural area did not stay vacant for long. Progress came and commercial development was flourishing along this main route. The residential development became fast growing into a beautiful little neighborhood and eventually with four churches, (Meridian Baptist Church, Colonial Heights Methodist Church, South Knoxville Church of God and Moorland Heights Baptist Church) one elementary school (Mooreland Heights School) and one city park. The park, named for the former Knoxville city councilman for our district, is the Gary Underwood Park and Greenway and is located on Moore Road. At this same park is the Ras P. Neal Soccer Field and the South Knoxville Optimist Club Building, which serves as the voting precinct for the 27th Ward. However, just on the edge of our district is a second park, and that is the 26 acre Charter Doyle Park, that in 1984, was donated to the city and county by former long-time Superintendent of Knox County Schools, Mildred Doyle. This parcel of land was part of a land grant issued for his service to his country, to Pvt. John Doyle, Mildred's Revolutionary War patriot ancestor. He is buried in a family cemetery on the hill in a fenced area of the park.

                                       BUTTERFLY LAKE

 The popular Butterfly Lake at the entrance to Colonial Village is currently a privately-owned body of water bounded by Easton Road and Manchester Road. Formed by a series of sinkholes and fed by natural underground springs and aquifers, it, along with its sister lake Giffin on the east side of Chapman Highway, and a third body of water once located in the vicinity of the Lakeview Motel, were once watering holes for native and migratory wildlife and the domesticated barnyard animals that inhabited Sam McCall’s farm. While impossible to prove, there is an outside chance that the outlaw Harry Logan aka Kid Curry may have watered his stolen horse here after escaping jail and fleeing across the Gay Street bridge into South Knoxville in July of 1903.

Then, as now, Butterfly Lake acts as a watershed, collecting and funneling rain runoff for the fifty contiguous acres surrounding it. In fact, there is a large culvert that aids runoff from W. Ford Valley and the surrounding streets of Arcadia, Hartford, and Manchester.

When the Colonial Village community was established in 1940, the lake was cozily surrounded by the verdant growth of weeping willows, overhanging privet, wild honeysuckle, and other natural growth that provided ample shade and cooling for the water. At that time, Butterfly Lake remained a home to Sam McCall’s flocks of muscovies, ducks, geese, and several pairs of elegant swans. Descendants of these muscovies and some of the ducks continued to inhabit the water until 2016 when a resident privately contacted an out-of-state conservancy and oversaw their removal and relocation, creating much displeasure among longtime residents who viewed this act as a theft of neighborhood history. Amidst the few domesticated water fowl that remain, we often glimpse migratory Great Blue herons, Great White egrets, Canadian geese, mallards, etc. along the water’s edge.

Fish abounded in these waters as well, especially catfish and bass. Some of the largest catches in Butterfly Lake history include ten-year-old Alan Gilbert landing a 30 pound catfish on July 1, 1965, John Vaught hooking a 25 pound channel catfish on March 13, 1988, and Chris Flynn and Kristian Dennis catching a 50+ pound flathead catfish on July 27, 1985. Fourteen-year-old Randy Tuggle hooked the largest recorded bass in Butterfly Lake history on April 6, 1977. It was a 5 pound 8 oz. largemouth. On August 11, 1970, twelve-year-old Lance Sergeant caught a 4 pound 11 oz. carp.

In addition to being a popular summer fishing hole over the years, Butterfly Lake became the place to ice skate and the venue for an impromptu game of ice hockey during extreme winters.

Today, Butterfly Lake is not as healthy as it once was. Longterm droughts over several years beginning in 2000, have negatively impacted it. The lush vegetation which once surrounded, protected, and cooled the water is now sparse in some areas and barren in others. Through natural erosion and the lack of adequate rainfall, some of the limestone beds below the surface of the lake have collapsed, rerouting and reducing the flow of the natural underground springs and aquifers that have maintained the water levels over the years. The improper feeding of bread to the water fowl that inhabit the lake has resulted in an overgrowth of algae at times from the indigestible yeast product in their waste. The depleted oxygen levels in the water that result have caused several multiple fish kills over the years, most notably in 1993, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

Due to severe drought conditions in 2007, the lake’s water level receded significantly, motivating resident Patti Thigpen to act. After receiving permission from the five government entities that must approve the refilling of a lake as well as approaching and receiving permission from the lake’s owners, and appealing to KUB to purchase the water at a reduced rate, she proceeded to raise donations to fill Butterfly Lake. When the lake level fell again in 2008, Patti partnered with Greg and Kenlyn Stewart’s Over Your Head productions to raise money for a second lake fill through t-shirt and sweatshirt sales. Part of the 2008 lake fill was financed by KUB, due to the controversy that a sudden drop in the water level may have been attributable to some excavation work in the area that likely impacted some of the underground springs. Lake levels remained somewhat stable until another drought in 2016. Patti once again raised funds for what proved to be a very short-lived refill, for a few months later the water had receded again.

Butterfly Lake is a much-loved and treasured part of Colonial Village life. We know its needs: (1) Sufficient rainfall to fill the aquifers and natural underground springs that maintain its water level. (2) More plantings like willows and overhanging shrubs to shade and cool its surface. (3) Trenching out accumulated silt and excrement to deepen its water levels and cool its surface. (4) Educating residents and visitors on the proper feeding of water fowl: regular bird seed, bird chow, chopped lettuce, and peas, instead of bread and its products! For healthier ducks = a healthier lake!

While most of these things are beyond are capabilities at present, it is our fervent hope to one day see this privately-held piece of property donated to Legacy Parks for preservation and upkeep.


By the late 1950's, the Chapman Highway Dogwood Trail was etched into the neighborhood by the city traffic engineers. The problem of folks being able to take the scenic tour without a guide, was solved with an ingenuous plan of painting the street with white markings on the pavement. The only change in that plan is what it is now painted pink.


Chapman Highway
                  Named for David C. Chapman, who is called the "father of the                   Great Smoky Mountains National Park".
West Ford Valley Road
                  Named for early Knoxville settler, Joseph Ford.
 Neubert Springs Road
                  Named for Neubert family & Neubert Springs Resort.
                  (The resort burned down in 1922)
 Magazine Road
                  Powder magazine for a  plant run by Atlas Powder company that                   supplied the  powder used in blasting Chapman Highway.
Stone Road
                 Named for Cecil V. Stone, magazine keeper for Atlas Powder Company.
Mooreland Heights School Road
                 Named for local man, William Carrick Moore, an entrepreneur in the                  wrought iron stove industry.
Catlett Drive
                Named for William A. Catlett, Colonial Development Company.
Judith and Larry Drives
                 Named for the children of developer, Jay Henry


Undated Photo of Colonial Village (its big! - Slow Modem User Beware) before




Copyright(c) 2002 Colonial Village Neighborhood Association. All rights reserved.