—Cradle of Country Music Tour —
Knoxville's Old Custom House
You are standing in front of Knoxville's first federal building, the Old Custom House (1874). The Custom House originally housed the federal court, excise offices, post office, and later, Tennessee Valley Authority offices. Now, as the East Tennessee History Center, it houses a museum, a history and genealogy library, an archive, and heritage tourism information.
Stop inside for information on the Cradle of Country Music Tour and visit the Voices of the Land exhibition, covering three centuries of life, from the Cherokee and frontier settlement to the Civil War, country music, and much more. Information on the country music tour and others is also available at the Visitors Center, just a few blocks away at the corner of Gay and Summit.
Fiddlin' Bob Taylor
Robert Love "Bob" Taylor (July 31, 1850 - March 31, 1912) was an American politician, writer, and lecturer. Taylor worked in the Custom House and later served as Governor of Tennessee from 1887 to 1891. He was elected again in 1897, and subsequently served as a U.S. Senator from 1907 until his death.
Taylor is remembered for defeating his older brother, Alfred A. "Alf" Taylor, in the 1886 gubernatorial campaign known as "The War of the Roses." The campaign involved storytelling, fiddle-playing,
and practical jokes, standing in contrast to the state's previous gubernatorial campaigns.
After the two brothers left politics, they co-wrote and presented "Yankee Doodle and Dixie." The tour was a major financial success, netting the brothers tens of thousands of dollars. (Marker Number 1