reputation of the white mule begins in old folklore which tells
of the great misfortunes that occur on the site of this rare animal's
death. The story of the white mule and our location begins in the
late 1860's when a gypsy circus was performing at the baseball stadium
that was in the area. A main attraction for this circus was the
rare white mule. And as fate would have it, it died while on display
seemed normal, as curses go, until 1897 when the famed "Million
Dollar Fire," one of the worst fires in Knoxville history
consumed most of the 400 block of Gay Street. At the time, the
block was a mix of hotels, hardware stores, pharmacies, retail
stores and wholesale businesses. The curse began to cast its shadow
in the outline of our block.
In 1904, an enormous explosion destroyed the Woodruff Building
for a second time and any doubts of the "so-called"
curse when a small fire made its way into a dynamite storage room.
The blast injured dozens.
and declaring "curse be damned," Captain Woodruff rebuilt
the building a third and final time. Smaller fires throughout
the 1900's continued to fuel the rumors of the curse as the building
served as a furniture store until the early 1990’s, when
it first became a restaurant.
Even though the building survived to turn 100 years old in 2004,
the story of the white mule continues to be passed on, sometimes
with laughter following those whispers. But if you should hear
a bump, or catch a shadow moving out of the corner of your eye
while here, perhaps it's a server. Or maybe it’s the legendary
white mule carrying on.