When Col. J.C. Woodward liquidated his extensive real estate development in Lexington, Ky., in 1890 and moved to Knox County, he purchased the Fountain Head Hotel and Resort. He enhanced the park adjoining the hotel and impounded the lake nearby. He also established the Fountain Head Land Co. and advertised residential lots with “easy transportation, pure water, beautiful trees and a pleasant climate” in the local papers.
The post office soon renamed the suburb Fountain City to avoid confusion with Fountain Head in Sumner County. Among the first to purchase lots there and build summer homes or to establish permanent residence in the suburb were Col. J.C. Williams, coal magnate; Sol H. George, department store owner; and John W. Hope, prominent Gay Street jeweler.