1402 North Broadway
Hours of Operation
Greenlee's Bicycle Hospital is the oldest family owned bicycle shop in the United States and the 7th oldest in the world!
1899 – Marshall "Major" Taylor wins the world 1-mile professional cycling championship
Established in 1899 by William Greenlee and George McFadden in a house on Deaderick Street in Mechanicsville (named after the tradesmen that lived in the area) the shop was serving bicyclist in the thriving post-industrialized Knoxville area.
1903 - The Wright Brothers first flight and the first Ford Model A produced
The first storefront was established that same year near where the "iconic" Regas Restaurant was located (this is where the now famous “Knoxville Bicycle Hospital” photograph was taken) and became known as a hospital for ailing bikes.
1909 – Einar Dessau becomes the first radio broadcaster
The shop then moved uptown in 1909 to Walnut Street for a brief period then moved again to the corner of Walnut Street and Western Avenue (near were TVA building currently resides) in Downtown Knoxville where the primary business was deliveries to and from the Old Market House (now Market Square) and to deliver Western Union telegrams throughout Knoxville.
1929 - Wall Street crash, beginning of The Great Depression
During “The Great Depression” only one worker got paid each week. We are proud to say that no one lost their job, but all were always late being paid. Whoever needed the money the worst got paid, but then got skipped on the next paycheck until everyone else was paid. This rotation went on for almost a decade.
1941 – Attack on Pearl Harbor
During World War II Knoxville was growing but parking was not, trolleys were in. Because of this bicycles became a necessary mode of transportation to the Downtown area from the suburbs and the Bicycle Hospital was there to support Knoxvillians. During the war (due to rationing) steel and rubber were hard to come by. Greenlee’s survived by repainting and refurbishing bikes instead of selling new ones. In 1949 Greenlee's left Western Avenue and moved to 303 East Magnolia and enjoyed 12 prosperous years. J.M. "Poppa J" came back to work in 1952 and stayed 43 years only missing three work days.
1961 - The Beatles perform for the first time
In 1961 we moved from Magnolia to our current location on the corner of Broadway and Glenwood in Historic North Knoxville. Greenlee’s Conrad Majors and his friend Don “Smoke” Longmire helped start Smoky Mountain Wheelmen in 1973. Greenlee’s helps put on the most dangerous criterium in Knoxville’s history sending over 12 participants to the hospital from crashes. Most of the wrecks happened on what now is known as "The Learning Curve".
1975 – Mountain Bikes, BMX were invented and the Vietnam War ends
Nettie Bowen was Conrad’s Grandmother. She was married to Mr. King, they were divorced and Nettie married Mr. Greenlee. Mr. Greenlee passed away and Nettie then remarried Mr. King. Nettie eventually bought out Mr. McFadden’s shares in the Knoxville Bicycle Hospital. Nettie then put the shop in Conrad’s name (most likely since a divorced female business owner in the 1950’s was unheard of). Unbeknownst to Conrad and being just a teenager when this transaction took place, he did not know he was the owner until a nice gentleman from the IRS came to explain why he has to pay taxes… in his early twenties!
Now that you know a little of our history come in and see what we are all about. To see where we are going in the future click here.