The Knox County Renaissance Foundation (KCRF) was created in 1988 to encourage and promote the preservation and development of Knox County’s historic, cultural, and architectural heritage. It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation governed by a Board of Directors and open to anyone willing to contribute time, talent, enthusiasm, resources, experience, ideas or creativity to our mission.
In recent years KCRF has taken on the role of the public’s voice speaking for preservation rather than demolition of public buildings and works as a means of promoting historical tourism in the county. We see the “bottom line” in a longer perspective. The organization is a firm believer in keeping history alive.


In its beginnings KCRF pioneered the establishment of the Knox County Visitor’s Bureau, developed and ran the Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival, and initiated the restoration of the 1851 Woodward Opera House. These three projects in time were handed over to separate entities that have taken them on full-time.
Other completed projects include having promoted and facilitated the installation of the Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke and the John Vallandigham historic markers on the Square.

We have sponsored numerous historic home tours over the years and in 2005 for Mount Vernon’s bicentennial a tour of the three historic districts. In 2000 we sponsored a historic rural church tour in the southern quarter of Knox County. In 2008 we sponsored a free historic barn tour (see Barn Tour page) for the county’s bicentennial with the cooperation of the Knox County Art League which painted portraits of 12 of the 15 barns. This was our gift to the county for the bicentennial. In 2010 we joined with the Owl Creek Conservancy to put on the second barn tour.
The three historic residential districts have received special historic district signage at each corner, 34 corners in all, due to our working with the city when it was time to replace old signage prior to the city’s bicentennial. We designed the sturdy cast aluminum signs and posts and advocated for these lasting signs over the cheaper alternatives with a shorter lifespan.
We also wrote and published two editions of The Three National Historic Districts Guide showing the boundaries, brief history, and each home on the register in the districts.
In 1992 we brought the deplorable condition of the 1884 limestone Victorian Gothic Mound View Cemetery Chapel with its priceless encaustic tile floor and tile wainscoting in the Mound View Cemetery to the attention of the city. We began to reverse decades of neglect with a new roof and attention to the windows to winterize the building. Since then we have worked with the city to complete the project. (see Chapel page for details)
As advocates for the brick streets we were able with the help of the Mount Vernon City Council to finally pass legislation to protect the remaining eight miles of brick streets in the residential areas.
We also designed and produced the Looking Up poster celebrating the rich variety of façade treatments in the downtown as well as producing art portraits of barns. (see Shop page)
In May 2009 we bought the International Order of Odd Fellows Building at 112-114 South Main in order to preserve and restore this key architectural landmark for our permanent home and for the use of the public. (see IOOF page).

In October 2013 KCRF presented a highly successful art show in which were presented dozens of the works of Grandma Moses and her grandson Will Moses. See the page in the above header for photos.


President: Jeff Gottke

Vice President: Russ McGibney

Treasurer: Phyllis Williams

Secretary: Carol Rine

Former President:Mary-Anne Pomputius

Former President: Thomas J. Fish

President Emeritus: Dr. William Pomputius

Dr. George Barcus

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