8 Tennessee Properties Added To National Register Of Historic Places

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Tennessee Historical Commission on Tuesday announced the addition of eight properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

“The latest National Register of Historic Places listing reflect Tennessee’s unique heritage and honor a diverse group of places worthy of being recognized and appreciated,” said Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer Patrick McIntyre.

The sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places are:

Leach Fire Lookout Tower (Cedar Grove – Carroll County)

The Leach Fire Lookout Tower is an 80-foot tall bolted steel truss Aeromotor LS-40 structure built in 1957.  Aeromotor was a leading manufacturer of steel fire towers in the 20th century. The cab at the top provided an unobscured view of the surrounding forests, allowing rangers to spot fires more easily than at ground level. There are several 1957 resources that are part of the historic complex: the tower, utility building, crew house and lookout operator’s cabin. Federal and state agencies cooperated to conserve forests and prevent fires and the Leach Fire Lookout Tower is a good example of this. The tower and associated resources were built as part of the conservation efforts that included having permanently staffed towers. At one time Tennessee had 208 lookout towers and little more than half remain. 

Tennessee War Memorial (Nashville – Davidson County)

Designed by Nashville architect Edward Emmett Dougherty, with associate architects McKim Mead and White of New York, the Tennessee War Memorial was completed in 1925.  The Classical Revival – Beaux Arts style of the building is seen in the colonnaded façade, symmetrical design and pedimented entry into the courtyard.  In the courtyard is the bronze statue of Victory, designed by prominent sculptors Leopold and Belle Kinney Scholz. The statue and memorial plaques with the names of 3,400 WW I dead were an integral part of the design.  A focus of the interior of the building is the auditorium built to seat 2,500.  At the end of WWI, the US experienced great interest in commemorating the “War to End all Wars.” Starting in 1919 with the passage of the Tennessee Memorial Act, the state, Davidson County and city of Nashville worked together to complete a memorial to WWI.  Since it opened in 1925, the Tennessee War Memorial has been used for offices, commemorative events and as an entertainment venue.

Mt. Zion Negro School (Bradford vicinity – Gibson County)

The original Mt. Zion Negro School was constructed around 1870 and the extant 1915 building may have been constructed on the same site.  The school building is located near a modern church and adjacent to a historic cemetery.  In the early 20th century, most residents of the area were farmers or sharecroppers and family members were needed to help with crops, so children often went to school only through fourth grade. Those who went on to secondary schools might go to the Trenton Rosenwald School, boarding with family or friends.  By the 1940s, students were allowed to stay in school, helping on the farm after classes.  Former students remember walking as far as 10 miles to get to the Mt. Zion school. The school served as a social center for the rural community, a place where people would meet for events such as cake walks, sports, or plays. The school is an important example of African American education in Gibson County and it is the last known one-room elementary school remaining in the county.  Mt. Zion Negro School closed its doors in 1960, was briefly used for church services in the late 1980s and sits unused today.

Blue Springs Lutheran Church and Cemetery (Mosheim – Greene County)

Located in the rural Greene County, the Blue Springs Lutheran Church was built in 1893 and is a good example of an ecclesiastical design that combines elements of the Folk Victorian and Gothic Revival styles.  Sheathed in weatherboards, the decorative features of the building include Italianate brackets, drip moldings and dentils at the cornice.  A three-story bell tower on the façade and pedimented windows on the side elevations are prominent exterior features. The Rev. Francis Marion Harr, pastor of the church in 1893, is recognized as the architect and builder of the church. The adjacent cemetery pre-dates the church and is an important part of its history.

Farmers and Merchants Bank (Ethridge – Lawrence County)

The one-story brick building in the heart of Ethridge was built in 1927 after an earlier bank building burned. Many banks in the early 20th century were designed in the Classical Revival style, which was thought to convey security and stability to a community. The restrained detailing, seen in the brick and stone window details on the façade of the Ethridge bank, copies the more elaborate Classical Revival style seen in larger communities. When the current building was constructed, the economy of Ethridge was based on agriculture.  The Farmers and Merchants Bank provided financing and capital for expanding businesses and farms. After the bank closed around 1950, it was used for several years as a post office. 

Hardison Mill Farm (Columbia vicinity – Maury County)

The Hardison family first settled in this part of Maury County around 1805 and built a farmhouse and mill.  After a flood in 1870, the current farmhouse was constructed. Today the working farm includes 66-acres, the farmhouse, sheds, a cistern, dairy barn and a family cemetery. The centerpiece of the complex is the two-story weatherboarded I-house.  A centrally placed two story pedimented portico delineates the façade of the house.  Segmental arch windows and doors, stone chimneys and interior paneled woodwork are principal architectural features of the house. In 1930, the farm was sold outside of the family and agriculture shifted from milling to tobacco and dairy farming.  The Hardison Mill Farm is an excellent representation of the historic importance of agriculture in Maury County.

Pottsville General Store (Columbia vicinity – Maury County)

The Pottsville General Store is located on State Route 166 near the intersection of State Route 99, giving it a good position to attract travelers on both roads. Constructed around 1890, the one and one-half story frame building was built on a stone pier foundation and has a single entry and two large windows on the façade.   In the late 19th century, the community of Pottsville had a school, stores, churches, gristmill and houses but few of the historic resources remain. Fletcher Lumsden ran the Pottsville General Store until the 1930s, providing dry goods, medicine, hardware and other necessities that the farmers could not produce themselves. The store changed ownership several times after the 1930s and was used for canoe rental in the 1980s.  Today, the former Pottsville General Store, the only commercial building in the community, is used as a restaurant.

Black Creek Fire Lookout Tower (Robbins – Scott County)

The Black Creek Fire Lookout Tower is an 80-foot tall bolted steel truss Aeromotor LS-40 that was built in 1951.  Aeromotor was a leading manufacturer of steel fire towers in the 20th century. The cab at the top provided an unobscured view of the surrounding forests, allowing rangers to spot fires more easily than at ground level. Also built around 1951 and on the site are an operator’s cabin, utility building, pavilion, crew house and shed. Federal and state agencies cooperated to conserve forests and prevent fires in the mid-20th century and the Black Creek Fire Lookout Tower is a good example of this. The tower and associated resources were built as part of the conservation efforts that included having permanently staffed towers. At one time Tennessee had 208 lookout towers and little more than half remain. 

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. 

For more information, visit http://tnhistoricalcommission.org. Copies of the nominations are available from the Tennessee Historical Commission.


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