In 1888, Max Arnstein decided to stop in Knoxville, rather than continuing on to Birmingham, his planned destination. Arnstein had earlier owned a store in Anderson, South Carolina, and had heard of the tremendous economic opportunity that existed in Birmingham. On his way to Alabama, he stopped in Knoxville for the night. He liked the town and noticed several stores for rent. Casting his lot in East Tennessee, Arnstein opened a dry goods store called M.B. Arnstein & Company, which eventually grew into a hugely successful department store specializing in high end goods. In 1905, he built a seven-story building in downtown Knoxville (at the corner of Union and Market) to house his store and business. Completed in 1906, it was Knoxville’s tallest building at the time of its completion. The building housed Max Arnstein’s department store until 1927, and in the 1930s it served as office space for the newly-created Tennessee Valley Authority. The Arnstein Building was designed by New York architectural firm Cleverdon & Putzel and features Neoclassical detailing and limestone quoins.
Informational Sources: Wikipedia & The ISJL Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities