The Tennessee Historical Commission announced today the addition of six Tennessee sites to the National Register of Historic Places.
“The National Register is an honorary recognition for time-honored places that enrich our communities and make them unique,” said Patrick McIntyre, state historic preservation officer and executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission. “We hope this recognition helps generate and reinforce an appreciation for these special properties, so they can be retained for present and future generations of Tennesseans.”
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, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee.
Sites added to the National Register of Historic Places are:
Fall Creek Falls Fire Lookout Tower
The steel frame Fall Creek Falls Lookout Tower was built around 1895 as an observation tower in Missionary Ridge, overlooking the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. It was moved into the state park in 1941 as part of the efforts to manage the forested area. The 80-foot tall tower is at an elevation of 2,026 feet and the cabin provides a panoramic view of the surrounding forest. A historic crew house, pump/well house, cabin and several utility buildings are also located at the site. The fire lookout tower complex is important locally and statewide for its design and as a representation of the state’s efforts to protect and manage its natural resources.
Murphy Springs Farm
The circa 1841 Gothic Revival Hugh Murphy House is the centerpiece of the National Register listed Murphy Springs Farm. Located in northeast Knox County, the 176 acres in the nomination include the main house, smoke house, spring house, garages, chicken coop and cemeteries. Pastures, agricultural fields and woods surround the buildings on the property. In the 19th century the land was used for subsistence farming; after that the land was farmed for hay and corn fields to be used for dairy stock. In the 1940s, and continuing today, cows are raised on the farm. The farm was settled in 1797 and is important locally as an illustration of settlement patterns, agricultural history and architecture in Knox County.
RCA Victor Studios Building
The nationally significant RCA Victor Studios Building in Nashville was built in 1964-65. It was designed by the WB Cambron company with engineering design by Alan Stevens and John E. Volkmann of RCA Victor in New York City. One of three new RCA studios, Nashville’s new building was the first combination recording studio and office building in the city’s Music Row neighborhood. The RCA Victor Studios Building helped shape two country music eras in the US. First was the Nashville Sound promoted by Chet Akins into the 1970s. The second phenomenon lasted into the late 1970s and was under the leadership of Jerry Bradley. This was the Outlaw movement that widened the popularity of country music from a southern regional sound into a national genre of music. Threatened with demolition in the last year, the Studio A Preservation Partners stepped in to save the building.
Old Grainger County Jail
The circa 1845 Old Grainger County Jail is located on Highway 92 in Rutledge. The two-story, solid brick building served as the jail until circa 1949. Designed and built with no embellishments, this is one of the oldest jail buildings in Tennessee. The building is a key reminder of the important role of local government in maintaining order and justice in Rutledge. Architecturally, the jail is a good example of a utilitarian government building designed without flourishes. The Grainger County Historical Society has owned and operated the building for many years and has plans to expand its use.
Rutledge Presbyterian Church and Cemetery
Constructed in 1903, the Rutledge Presbyterian Church in Grainger County is an outstanding example of a Folk Victorian style church with Gothic Revival detailing. The one-story, weather-boarded building is highlighted on the exterior with a corner bell tower, shingles in the front gable and stained glass windows. Inside, the sanctuary retains wood wainscoting and floors. A historically associated cemetery, with burials dating to 1864, surrounds the church.
Approximately 25 acres of the former Ravenscroft Mine site near Sparta were listed in the National Register. The mine was once the only shaft coal mine in the area and it serves as an important reminder of the significance of the coal industry in the Cumberland Plateau. Rail lines came to the Cumberland Plateau in 1887 and large scale mining soon began. Begun between 1901 and 1904, Ravenscroft included a company town and mining operation. Mining of “soft” coal at the site stopped in 1937 and all equipment was removed. Today only concrete and stone foundations, machine bases and a slate dump remain. The nominated property is owned by White County and plans are to develop the site as a park.