The Knoxville Civil War Roundtable (KCWRT) awarded the first annual Dot Kelly Preservation Grant to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Chapter 89 (UDC 89). The $500 grant was presented May 2 at the annual meeting and awards of the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) held at the Foundry. The grant was to repair the pool and fountain at the Bleak House, Confederate Memorial Hall in Knoxville. The over 100-year-old concrete fountain was in disrepair due to leaks and cracks in the base.
In December 2015, the KCWRT created the grant to honor past president and long-time board member Dot Kelly for her many years of service to the KCWRT and her tireless efforts towards the preservation of Knoxville’s Civil War history and historic sites. This annual grant, in an amount not to exceed $500, is given to a group, individual, or organization for a Knoxville area Civil War preservation project. Beginning in 2017 and in future years, the annual grant information and application is included with the ETHS Awards of Excellence announced each February.
Accepting the grant check from KCWRT past president Dennis Urban and Dot Kelly was Karen Blevins, 3rd vice president of UDC 89. Also present was John Stegner, president of the KCWRT and Carlene Johnson, president of UDC 89.
Bleak House is a Victorian mansion built in 1858 by prominent Knoxvillian, Robert H. Armstrong. Slave labor was used to mold the bricks for the house on site. During the siege of Knoxville and the Battle of Fort Sanders in November and December 1863, the home served as headquarters for Confederate Generals James Longstreet and Lafayette McLaws. Three soldiers using the house’s tower as a sharpshooters post were killed there by Federal cannon fire. A comrade sketched their likenesses on the wall of the tower. Two cannonballs are still embedded in the walls. Artillery was also set up on the lawn to fire on the Federals. Tours of the house and grounds are offered. Refer to the UDC 89 website: http://www.bleakhouseudc89.org/