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Tennessee’s Finest Home

Surveying Knoxville’s History

A visit to Ramsey House offers the perfect opportunity to explore Knoxville’s rich history and the Ramsey Legacy.

Built in 1797 of locally sourced pink marble and blue limestone, Ramsey House was indeed known as the “finest house in Tennessee”. Because of its architectural sophistication and relative opulence, Ramsey House welcomed many diplomats and important guests through its doors. Once considered an anomaly among log cabins and wooden structures, the house stands today as a reminder of the enduring Ramsey Family Legacy.

The foundational contributions of Colonel Ramsey and his sons are significant, and include founding trustee of the institution that would become the University of Tennessee, Tennessee’s premier historian, and first popularly elected Mayor of Knoxville. Through the Ramsey’s story, you will also experience daily life on America’s first frontier and come to know the challenges faced by the sons and daughters of the Revolutionary War patriots. You will learn about the enslaved people whose lives were intertwined with those of the family, as well as, feel the deep divisions of the Civil War, which changed the course of this family forever.

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Our Stories

A Founder

Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey

A surveyor and one of the first settlers of Knox County, Ramsey held many important positions, including serving as court clerk and as a founding trustee of what was to become the University of Tennessee.

A Historian

Dr. J.G.M. Ramsey

Author of one of the state's earliest histories, The Annals of Tennessee, J.G.M. also founded the East Tennessee Historical Society, was a physician, and was later exiled from Knoxville during the Civil War.

A Mayor

William B.A. Ramsey

William B.A. Ramsey was the first popularly elected mayor of Knoxville, publisher of the Knoxville Register, served as Tennessee’s secretary of state, and was also a known abolitionist.

A Beloved Wife

Margaret Alexander Ramsey

Colonel Ramsey’s beloved wife, “Peggy” moved from wealth to a log cabin overlooking Swan Pond. She and Francis had nine children, three of whom survived to adulthood.

An Enslaved Man


Born into slavery at Swan Pond, Levy served as a carriage driver for the Ramsey family. He was freed during the Civil War and lived through reconstruction in the 1870s.

A Bountiful Land

Swan Pond

Located on what was once Cherokee hunting grounds, Colonel Ramsey acquired the site for Ramsey House, a game-rich, beaver-dammed wetland, in 1786. Called Swan Pond, over 100 acres of original farmland is preserved today.

Experience History

Guided tours of the house and grounds are led daily by trained staff, extolling the site's uniquely imported architectural style, historical significance, and the character of life in early Tennessee with the home's compelling characters, residents, and visitors.


Wednesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

*Hours are subject to change. Call (865) 546-0745 to confirm.


- Adults – $10.00
- Seniors (60+), Military & Child (5-17 years) - $8.00
- Child (under 5 years) - Free
- Ramsey House Member - Free

*Special Schools and Groups options available.

Add Your Story to Historic Ramsey House

The charm of Historic Ramsey House offers an unforgettable backdrop for your wedding or special event. Beautiful grounds, plentiful parking, and indoor accommodations for up to 80 people are available with even greater capacity for out-of-doors.

Book a Wedding Book Family & Corporate Events

Sustain Tennessee’s Historic Past

Help us continue to share the Ramsey House's unique stories with a gift that will ensure the "Stone House" is sustained for generations to come.

Support Ramsey House

Contact Us

2614 Thorn Grove Pike, Knoxville, TN 37914 Get Directions
Ray Griffin
Executive Director
Eric Herran
Museum Assistant
7 miles from downtown Knoxville to the Ramsey House
  • I took my elementary school aged kids for a trip there and they loved it. Both enjoy hearing the stories and seeing old, original, artifacts, and this did not let them down.
    Dewayne P
  • Took a school group there and they were most accommodating. I would recommend this as a great place to stop while traveling on I-75. Easy access from the interstate.
    Dodd D
  • The house is more spacious than it appears from the road but it might as well have been a mansion because of all the interesting things we learned about life in those times and the Ramsey family history.
  • We stopped here for a tour when we were passing through Knoxville. The home has been tastefully restored and our guide was fantastic. It is situated in a beautiful area and it’s easy to imagine the estate during it’s heyday. We loved our visit.
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