Cowan, McClung and Company Building

Also known as: Fidelity Building
500-504 Gay St., Knoxville, Tennessee


Fidelity building knoxville tn1.jpg

The Fidelity Building is a four-story, three-bay brick building originally constructed in 1871, and extensively remodeled in 1929. The building was originally designed in an Italianate style, and contained a central pediment and balustrade, and storefronts flanked by Corinthian columns.

Photo: Brian Stansberry / Creative Commons,"


Street View 


The Fidelity Building is an office building in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Initially constructed in 1871 for the wholesale firm Cowan, McClung and Company, the building was home to Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company during the mid-twentieth century, and has since been renovated for use as office space. In 1984, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville's late-nineteenth century wholesaling industry. Cowan, McClung and Company was formed in 1858 by Knoxville merchants James H. Cowan, Perez Dickinson, and several members of the McClung family. During the years following the Civil War, the company became one of the most profitable in Tennessee as Knoxville's wholesaling market grew exponentially. The company erected its four-story headquarters on Gay Street's 500-block in 1871, and occupied the building until 1919. Another wholesale firm, Anderson-Dulin-Varnell, operated out of the building until 1929. The Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company occupied the building from 1929 until 1964. The Fidelity Building is currently the headquarters of the wholesale grocery company, H. T. Hackney. In May 2011, the company announced plans to open a grocery store on the building's ground floor.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1984
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival; Victorian: Italianate; Other architectural type; Second Renaissance Revival
Areas of significance
Commerce; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1925-1949
Significant years
1871; 1929

Update Log 

  • February 10, 2021: New photos from Michael Miller
  • June 6, 2017: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • October 27, 2015: Photo imported by pam phillips
  • October 25, 2015: Photo imported by pam phillips