Ten Tennessee Sites Added to National Register of Historic Places

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced ten Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.  It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources.  The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee. 

“The National Register honors places that help Tennesseans understand our heritage and make our communities unique and enjoyable,” said Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission.  “We are confident this recognition will help retain these unique sites for future generations to know and appreciate.”

Sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places include:

 ·          Court Theatre – The Court Theater began showing movies and stage shows in October 1929, after Ms. Linnie Carter bought a building in Huntingdon and remodeled it into a state-of-the-art theater. Carter ran the theater as an independent movie house until 1940, when Rockwood Amusement Company bought the building.  The company updated the building with features such as a façade marquee. Located on the Carroll County Courthouse square, the theater was and continues to be a popular venue for movies.  According to the National Register nomination, “bigger and more expensive multi-plex cinemas have slowly replaced the once single screen local cinemas. While gaining a bigger variety of movies to choose from at one time, the ability to enjoy a movie with friends and neighbors in a small community theater, such as the Court, is now both an exceptional experience and a welcome change.”

 ·          Fewkes Group Archaeological Site – Located in Brentwood’s Primm Park in Williamson County, the Fewkes Group Archaeological site was listed in the National Register in 1980 for its local significance.  Current research showed that the site has national importance because of the work of William Edward Myer and the National Register nomination was revised to reflect this.  Myer was a leader in the efforts to bring archaeology from a hobby into a scientific profession.  He was an early proponent of stratigraphic excavation and used a multi-disciplinary team to analyze field results.  One of his publications by the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, became a primary source of information on Middle Tennessee prehistory. The site is also nationally significant as one of the earliest well documented examples of the involvement of African Americans in federal archaeology.

 ·          Gibson County Training School – In 1926, the Gibson County Training School in Milan was built as a Rosenwald Fund project. Additions to the school building were made numerous times as the county and city grew.  Education programs changed as the community changed.  Milan also was an important military base during World War II and the Cold War years.  In 1963, the county transferred ownership of the school, now called Polk-Clark, to Milan and the school continued to operate until the 1990s. The building is important as an example of the impact of Progressive Era philanthropic groups, the federal influence due to the presence of the Milan Army Ammunition Plant and the Civil Rights movement.

 ·          Highland Park Methodist Episcopal Church, South Begun in 1907 and completed in 1916, the Highland Park Methodist Episcopal Church, South is a good example of Neo-Classical architecture in Chattanooga, Hamilton County.  Located in the Highland Park neighborhood, the church was designed by the Chattanooga firm of Bearden and Foreman.  The building is highlighted by the grand Scamozzi columns, octagonal dome, interior woodwork and stained glass windows. Keeping the Neo-Classical design, Benjamin Hunt of Chattanooga’s R.H. Hunt firm designed a Sunday school annex in 1924.  Many historic churches in Chattanooga are designed in the Late Gothic Revival style, making the Highland Park church building an uncommon style of early 20th century church architecture in the city.

 ·          Hopecote – Completed in 1924, Hopecote is a good example of English Cottage Revival design in Knoxville.  Designed for Albert and Emma Hope by John F. Staub, Emma’s nephew, the building exhibits characteristic features of the style such as the thick walls, a steeply pitched roof, small multi-pane windows and substantial woodwork inside. The English Cottage Revival design is part of a larger architectural movement known as Country House.  Typically, a Country House residence combined elements of historic styles in modern homes for wealthy suburbanites.  When it was built, Hopecote was in a suburban area of Knox County – now part of the University of Tennessee campus.  Emma Hope sold the building to the university in 1976. 

 ·          Maymead Stock Farm, Inc. – Two miles west of the Johnson County seat of Mountain City is Maymead Stock Farm, Inc., one of the oldest farms in the county and the first farm in the state of Tennessee to be incorporated.  It is an important example of the agricultural history of the region.  Still primarily owned by descendants of the original families, historically, the farm was associated with stock farming.  Eventually crops such as corn and hay were added to the farm. The nomination includes two houses, agricultural outbuildings, commercial buildings and a cemetery.  Architecturally, the two houses are examples of the Colonial Revival style and the outbuildings on the property are good examples of farm outbuildings.  Approximately 1,000 acres and 26 buildings and structures were listed in the National Register.

 ·          Murfreesboro Veterans Administration Hospital Historic District – As part of its federal responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs nominated more than 30 VA medical centers throughout the country, including Murfreesboro’s Alvin C. York campus.  Begun in 1939, the historic campus contains 321 acres and 35 historic resources. It is important in the area of health and medicine at the state level and as an example of the federal government’s efforts to care for veterans.  It is also a good example of the classical design influences the VA used when constructing this type of facility.  The façade portico imitates Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and shows how the agency tried to incorporate local styles and history into their campus buildings.

 ·          National Teacher’s Normal & Business College Administration Building – Architect Hubert McGee designed the building familiarly called “Old Main” for the National Teacher’s Normal and Business College in Henderson, Chester County.  Completed in 1908 the building is a fine example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture.  Brick arches, corbelled brick detailing, a domed cupola and paneled interior woodwork are distinguishing features of the building.  Today, the former college is known as Freed-Hardeman University – named after two individuals who were instrumental in establishing the school.  Old Main represents the educational and religious activities of the school. Historically the school promoted itself as being very modern and it was the first college in West Tennessee to have co-educational facilities.  It is not owned by any religious organization but it is affiliated with the Churches of Christ through religious fellowship activities.

 ·          Nolensville School In 1937, the community of Nolensville in Williamson County built a modern school building, adapting the schoolhouse design of Floor Plan No. 30 from the Rosenwald Fund.  Available through the state’s Department of Education, these plans were originally used for African-American schools throughout the South.  When completion of the Nolensville School was delayed, classes were held in a tent on the school grounds.  The school building became the center of educational and social life in Nolensville.  In 1948, additional space was needed and a gymnasium was added to the building.  An example of the importance of the school to the Nolensville community is shown by the actions of the local Community Club, which purchased a surplus military building in Nashville, hauled the material to Nolensville and used the material to frame the gymnasium.

 ·          Old First Presbyterian Church and Old City Cemetery – The Old First Presbyterian Church and the Old City Cemetery were originally established as separate entities, but since 1965 have been merged into a single 3.53-acre site.  From 1820 to 1931 leaders of Murfreesboro were interred at the cemeteries.  Both cemeteries are associated with important Civil War battles, including Forrest's raid on Murfreesboro and the Battle of Stones River. As an archaeological property, the site is noteworthy for the information that can be learned about the early church building and its setting.  The site also has statewide significance for its use as a short-term hospital and encampment during the Civil War.  Most buildings that were used as temporary hospitals continued to be utilized after the war and this long-term use obscures the history of the buildings during the Civil War.  The demolition of the church in Murfreesboro soon after it was used as a hospital preserved archaeological deposits.  This site is one of the most intact sites in the state and has the potential to yield important information about the use of Civil War encampments and hospitals. 

 Links to each of the completed nomination forms can be found in the site descriptions listed above. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the Web site at www.tnhistoricalcommission.org.


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