The 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 here.
All 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.
Undaunted 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.