Group gives up fight to save McCulloch House

Erin Edgemon, The Daily News Journal, July 28, 2006

Friends of Stones River National Battlefield have halted attempts to purchase the preCivil War McCulloch House and save it from demolition.

After an assessment completed by the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, it was determined that the house — originally a Federal-style home built in 1838 — doesn’t have any historic value.  The center determined the house had undergone “significant changes and additions” and much of the remaining house only dates back to the 1920s, ’30s and ’80s.

“We are sad that it has turned out this way,” said Friends member Kay Morrow.  “We really want to preserve everything we can that is associated with the Battle of Stones River.”

The house, at 565 River Rock Blvd. near Old Time Pottery, served as the headquarters of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee at the start of the Battle of Stones River Dec. 31, 1862.

In light of the report, the group feels there are other projects in Rutherford County that would be more worth the money, Morrow said.

Property owner Howard Wilson decided to give the local preservation group 30 days effective July 17 to purchase the house and almost two acres for $500,000.  He decided to extend the offer after hearing that group that attempted to save the historic Hiram Jenkins House on Gresham Lane from demolition was turning their attention to the McCulloch House.

“I am glad they had the opportunity to look at it and make an informed decision,” he said.  “We felt all along that the structural integrity of the house wasn’t sufficient for renovation.”

The Friends of the Stones River National Battlefield hadn’t received any donations to save the house.

“With the lack of original materials and the surrounding development, the house maintains little integrity and association with its setting and its Civil War-era history,” according to the assessment sent to the Friends of Stones River National Battlefield.  “Due to the changes made to the property, the house does not appear to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.”

Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Preservation Trust, agreed that the house isn’t a pre-Civil War home any longer and after seeing the house firsthand he couldn’t advocate saving the structure.

Comments are closed