The Tennessee Historical Commission, the state agency that is designated as the State Historic Preservation Office, on Tuesday announced the addition of nine properties to the National Register of Historic Places. They include school buildings, a fire lookout tower, a water tower, houses, an archaeological site and an update to a historic district.
“Tennessee has a tremendous inheritance of important historic places that are highlighted by the diversity of these recent National Register listings.” said State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director Patrick McIntyre.
The sites added to the National Register of Historic Places are:
Mound Bottom (Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area – Cheatham County)
In 1971 the Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area was listed in the National Register for its statewide importance as a prehistoric Native American site. The Tennessee Division of Archaeology was awarded a Historic Preservation Fund grant to continue research into this significant site. Managed as part of the Harpeth River State Park, the Mid Cumberland Mississippian site consists of several earthen mounds, residential footprints, cemetery areas, a petroglyph site and secondary mounds. New research has revealed that Mound Bottom was one of the first mound centers in the Central Basin and that it was a political center of the region. This new research helps us understand the cultural shifts in the Southeast during the Mississippian period (AD 900-AD 1400).
Sitka School (Milan vicinity - Gibson County)
Gibson County’s Sitka School was completed in 1942 for African American students in the Milan area. Just as the Milan Army Ammunition Plant was being built, the African American community, Gibson County School Board, and Public Works Administration worked to construct the 2-room school building for grades 1 through 8. Prior to the Sitka School, African American students were taught at Moore’s Chapel Church in Milan. Although the well-known Rosenwald School program was not used for Sitka, the school received assistance from the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation, also known as the Negro Rural School Fund. The program provided Jeanes Supervisors who taught, helped raise funds and worked throughout the community. Sitka School operated until circa 1966.
Crescent School (Greeneville - Greene County)
Constructed between 1923 and 1925, the Crescent School served elementary school students in Greeneville until it closed in 1981. Kingsport architect Allen N. Dryden, Sr. designed the school and additions that were built in 1955 and 1961. The Colonial Revival style of the school building is illustrated in the symmetrical design, multiple-light windows, bell tower and pedimented entries. Originally the school had 7 classrooms, offices and a large room on the main floor. Four classrooms and a basement space for kitchen and cafeteria were added in 1955, with another 3 classrooms added in 1961. After the school closed, a Save Crescent School movement resulted in a former student buying the property in 1999 and adapting the building for office use, a purpose it still serves today.
Stanton School (Stanton – Haywood County)
The Stanton School was constructed in 1948 for African American students in the rural community of Stanton. Grades 1 through 8 were taught in the 4-room school building until 1969, when schools were required to desegregate. The Colonial Revival design of the school is seen in the multiple light windows, central entry with sidelights and transom and symmetry of the exterior. In form and design, the school resembles Rosenwald School plans, a program that funded schools for African American students in the South from circa 1917-1932, but it post-dates the Rosenwald program. The school building is owned and maintained by the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Ripley Fire Lookout Tower (Ripley - Lauderdale County)
The Ripley Fire Lookout Tower is a circa 1970, 80-foot tall steel structure with a cab for observation of the surrounding area. Also on the property are a circa 1970 cabin for the lookout operator and a circa 1970 service building for vehicles. The lookout tower was built by the Aeromotor Company of Chicago, Illinois for use by the Tennessee Division of Forestry. It provided a panoramic view of the surroundings, allowing an operator in the cab to spot any fires. The state once had 208 fire lookout towers but as technology and forestry practices changed, many have been lost or are no longer used. The Ripley tower is one of the last built for the Tennessee Division of Forestry.
Englewood Water Tower (Englewood – McMinn County)
The 144’ Englewood Water Tower is an iconic feature of the community. Situated prominently just outside of the business district, the town of Englewood showcases the tower on its web page. When the Depression-era Public Works Administration program offered funding to build a public water system for the town, 97% of the community approved. The water tower was erected in 1937, using the most advanced design available, which combined an elliptical bottom with a conical top. The new system not only supplied the community, but it helped in reviving Englewood by bringing in new industry. The water tower is no longer used by the town and a local preservation group has
been established to preserve the structure.
Gladys “MaDear” Bennett House (Memphis – Shelby County)
The Gladys “MaDear” Bennett House was moved to this location in north Memphis circa 1955, the same year Gladys and Harvey Bennett purchased the house. The Bennett’s were a family of successful African American entrepreneurs during a time of segregation and Jim Crow in the South. Gladys started “Gladys’ School of Domestic Arts” in the 1940s and continued to run the school at this location. She was a seamstress and the school was equipped with sewing machines, cutting tables, and racks for clothes. Her husband Harvey helped the business by bringing in a steam press from his company “Mack’s Cleaners and Hatters.” Gladys’ sister Cora Crawford operated the “Subway Beauty Salon” in the house. The house is still owned by the family.
Webb Hotel (Rock Island – Warren County)
Crab Orchard stone and cedar shingles distinguish 2-story Craftsman style Webb Hotel. Built in 1909, other architectural features of building are the wide eaves, large front porch with Crab Orchard columns and an abundance of large windows. The Webb family moved their hotel enterprise to Rock Island, shortly before there was a boom in tourism due to the construction of the Great Falls dam, and resulting lake, in 1915. Conveniently located close to the railroad station, the hotel was a prime location for vacationers getting off the train. In addition to offering rooms, the Webb family served meals to guests. The hotel was sold out of the Webb family in the 1930s and continued to operate as a boarding house and hotel until the mid-20th century.
Hincheyville Historic District (Franklin – Williamson County)
The Hincheyville Historic District was listed in the National Register in 1982 due to its importance as Franklin’s first suburb and for the quality and variety of architecture in the district. The subdivision was platted in 1819 as a residential neighborhood adjacent to the city’s commercial downtown. With the passage of 38 years since the listing, the city of Franklin was awarded a matching Historic Preservation Fund grant to update the nomination. The revised document includes additional information on the architecture and history of Hincheyville and updates descriptions of the houses in the district. Most houses in the district date from circa 1830 to circa 1950; styles range from 19th-century Greek Revival to 20th-century bungalows.