The Tennessee Historical Commission announced on Friday the addition of three Tennessee sites to the National Register of Historic Places.
“These additions to the National Register of Historic Places are a testament to Tennessee’s diverse and historically relevant heritage,” said Patrick McIntyre, state historic preservation officer and executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission.
“This church, radio station and historic railroad tunnel are part of our state’s unique past and are worthy of being recognized on this prestigious list.”
Three sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places are:
Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Mission (Alto – Franklin County)
Situated in the northeast part of Franklin County along the Old Alto Highway, the Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Mission was constructed in 1938. The one-story, gable roof building is constructed of rusticated and coursed “Franklin County sandstone”, which is similar to the popular Crab Orchard sandstone seen throughout the state. Stone buttresses and stained glass windows delineate the sides of the Gothic Revival chapel. Important architectural features inside include the wood ceiling supported by wood bracing, wood floors and pews, solid stone walls, and brick quoins surrounding window and door openings. The church was operated by the Paulists, who’s mission to promote their religion resulted in them being known in the early 20th century for innovative outreach ideas. At the Mission they used radio, film screening, print media, and even had a “motor chapel” – a trailer with a sleeping room in the front and an altar at the back.
WJJM Radio Station and Tower (Lewisburg – Marshall County)
The WJJM Radio Station and Tower were built for James Joseph “Jimmie Joe” Murray in 1946. Still broadcasting, the building was designed with a radio station on the first floor and living spaces on the second and third floors. Built by Buford Donaldson of Florida, the uncoursed stone building has a one-story front porch, large front chimney, and metal windows. Near the station is a 183-foot transmission tower. Family-owned, WJJM began as a local station that was the most important source of information in Lewisburg. The first broadcast was on May 15, 1947. Programming consisted of live music, news, talk shows, religious services and local advertising. In 1968, the station acquired an FM license and broadened its range to include several adjacent counties. The station continues to broadcast on AM and FM frequencies.
Sixteen Tunnel (Sunbright – Morgan County)
Sixteen Tunnel was built around 1879 by the Cincinnati Southern Railway. It is a representative example of the type of brick- and stone-lined tunnels constructed by the rail company in the late 19th century. Originally, the 1,084 foot arched tunnel was lined with timber but around 1885, it was relined with brick and stone. The tunnel openings are approximately 15 feet wide and 14 feet tall and they are faced with limestone. The railroad district in which the tunnel was built consisted of hairpin curves and steep grades and necessitated a tunnel about every 10 miles. Building and upgrading these tunnels required using the latest innovative engineering techniques. Changes in railcars and shipping patterns resulted in most of the tunnels being abandoned or removed. Sixteen Tunnel became a “passing siding” track in the late 1940s and was abandoned for rail use in 1955.
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. For more information, visit http://tnhistoricalcommission.org.