Jim Tumblin is honoree at virtual luncheon

Sandra ClarkFountain City, Our Town Stories

Dr. J.C. “Jim” Tumblin, featured history columnist for KnoxTNToday.com, is the honoree Thursday (6/18) for the Knoxville History Project’s annual fundraising luncheon. The event, already postponed from April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be online at noon.


The virtual event will feature a special interview of Dr. Tumblin conducted by the history project’s executive director, Jack Neely, and filmed by Linda Billman and Doug Mills, who formerly worked together on WBIR’s award-winning “The Heartland Series.”

Paul James, director of publishing and development at Knoxville History Project, said there is no ticket price for the luncheon, but those attending will be asked for a donation. Anyone interested should contact him at paul@knoxhistoryproject.org or 865-300-4559.

Dr. Tumblin practiced optometry in Fountain City for many years, starting locally in 1949. He later served as chief of an army-base optometric clinic in Virginia and rose to the summit of his profession, once serving as president of the American Optometric Association.

He has served faithfully on the board of Fountain City Town Hall and is a fixture at the group’s annual Honor Fountain City Day at the park. His latest book is “Fountain City: People Who Made a Difference,” published in 2016. James said it is a valuable desk reference at KHP, not just for questions pertaining to Fountain City, but to Knoxville as a whole.

“Dr. Tumblin’s neighbors, from seminal environmentalist Harvey Broome to popular-music juggernaut Roy Acuff, had an influence far beyond their unique community,” he said. Dr. Tumblin has been a prominent Knoxville historian for at least 30 years, sometimes putting history into practice, as when he took the lead in returning an authentic gazebo to Fountain City Park for Knoxville’s bicentennial. Operated by the Fountain City Lions Club, the park is one of Knoxville’s oldest and most beautiful gathering places.

Also, KHP will preview a teaser from its forthcoming documentary on the 100th Tennessee Valley Fair from 2019, in production courtesy of broadcasting professionals, Noble Robinette and Peter Carty.

The Knoxville History Project (KHP) is an educational nonprofit with a mission to research and promote the history and culture of Knoxville. KHP is the only city-centered historical organization covering downtown and all points north, south, east, and west throughout the suburbs. KHP’s work features colorful characters, bizarre tales, interesting buildings, curious traditions, as well as seriously influential local events. KHP provides history talks and tours, conducts research for fee-for-service clients; and engages in community-wide history projects.

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