Savage House and Garden
The Savage Home and Garden showcases a variety of remarkable plants, some of which have won state and local awards. Arthur and Hortense Savage built this home and garden in 1917 and added vegetation, water features, and other decorations to it over the years. The garden features fruit-bearing banana trees, Japanese maples, and other plants brought from abroad. The Chinese Pistache, Pond Cypress, and Umbrella Pine trees were planted by the Savages in the 1920s and have since become champions of their kind. Since 1994, the Savage Home and Garden has been part of the Garden Montessori School grounds.
Backstory and Context
Arthur Savage and his brother W. L. Savage made their fortunes in the early 1900s by manufacturing industrial equipment. Arthur Savage later became the president of the Ty-Sa-Man company that produced marble-cutting equipment. Thanks to his success in the business world, Savage was able to build this home during World War I. Savage was enchanted by the rock gardens inspired in part by the Art Nouveau movement, which borrowed from Japanese design. He established a few in East Tennessee before starting his own in 1917. Work on the garden was completed in the 1920s, but a tornado in 1934 left a trail of damage. The storm had uprooted plants and upset rock formations. The Great Depression forced Savage to reduce the hours of his gardener, Charles Davis, who left in 1937. After Arthur Savage’s death in 1946, the property fell into a state of disrepair.
In 1986, couple Dill Dohm and Patty Cooper bought the home from the Savage family and began restorations of the house, greenhouse, and garden. Dohm and Cooper operated the Garden Montessori School, which was adjacent to the Savage estate. Despite advice to raze the property, the couple repaired the house, garden, and fountains. Work continues to expand the garden and protect it from the weather, such as another tornado that occurred in the 1990s and hail storms. Today, students use the Savage Garden as a place to study, play, and learn about nature.
Carey, Shannon. Fountain City’s Savage Garden to mark 100th anniversary. Knox TN Today. May 19, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2019. https://www.knoxtntoday.com/fountain-citys-savage-garden-to-mark-100th-anniversary/. Information and photo source.
Gibson, Mike. What do a bathroom, museum, and garden have in common? Cool architecture. Go Knoxville. January 06, 2013. Accessed January 21, 2019. http://archive.knoxnews.com/entertainment/life/what-do-a-bathroom-museum-and-garden-have-in-common-cool-architecture-ep-359204556-356277571.html.
About Garden Montessori School. Garden Montessori School. Accessed January 21, 2019. http://gardenmontessori.org/future-students/about-gms/.