Rutherford County’s Top 10 endangered sites

Michelle Williard, Murfreesboro Post, January 18, 2009

History abounds in Rutherford County and so does development, but they don’t have to be exclusive, the Heritage Foundation of Rutherford County said.

The fate of the older front section of MTMC is unknown.

The fate of the older front section of MTMC is unknown.

The county has grown exponentially in population and construction in the last 20 years.

With the growth has come the destruction of many historic buildings and sites in the county. All things that can’t be reclaimed once they are gone.

“We are at that pivotal point where we need to save enough of these unique buildings where we become a stop on the interstate, like Franklin or Leapers Fork,” said Denise Carlton, vice president of the Heritage Partnership of Rutherford County.

With the help of the Heritage Partnership, The Murfreesboro Post has identified the Top 10 (11, because we believe in historic preservation) endangered sites in Rutherford County.

This is why the HPRC is reaching out to the community for help in drawing attention to the most endangered historic sites in the county.

  1. One of the oldest brick structures in the county, Springfield or the Washington House on Manson Pike, is endangered from commercial development, said Linda Lichtenberger, communications chairman of Heritage Partnership.

Built between 1805 and 1810 by Gen. John Smith, the home is distinctive because of its double entrance doors.

The home also has a historic cemetery, log smokehouse and slave quarters associated with it.

  1. Murfreesboro Old City Cemetery was listed on the “Ten in Tennessee” in 2008 because the graves and architectural elements in the historic burial ground are suffering from neglect and improper care.
  2. Lytle Cemetery, tucked in the corner at Broad and Memorial next to Haynes Lumber Company, is endangered by the long proposed reconfiguration of the intersection.
  3. Development also threatens Smyrna’s King House, Carlton said.

Built in the early 1800s as a log house, the building was used as a Confederate hospital and headquarters during the Battle of Stones River.

  1. Located north of the Stones River National Battlefield, Elmwood was built in 1842 by Thomas Hord.

Elmwood and its associated farm are threatened by development and the construction of state route 840, Lichtenberger said.

  1. The National Register of Historic Places listed Marymont on Rucker Lane is also threatened by development.

The antebellum home was saved and restored by ParkTrust Development when the company began building the subdivision, Marymont Springs. ParkTrust had planned to use the home, built from 1861-1867, as the development’s clubhouse, but has since decided to build a new clubhouse, Carlton said.

  1. Built in 1884, Rockvale store is endangered from neglect. The store was the first general store and first post office location in Rutherford County. It was also the start of the first rural delivery system in the county and an early polling site.
  1. MTSU’s President’s House was listed in 2005 because it is threatened to lose its historic setting.

Built in 1911, MTSU President’s House is the only remaining original dwelling that has not been razed of the three state normal schools created in the early twentieth century.

  1. Middle Tennessee Medical Center was opened as Rutherford Hospital in 1927.

The fate of the older, front section of the building is unknown when MTMC moves into its new facility on Medical Center Parkway in the fall of 2010.

“While the hospital is moving and their encroachment east of Burton has stopped, there is still National Health that may wish to expand their rehab center some day. We lost several grand homes around the hospital,” said Lichtenberger.

  1. Ragland Court subdivision was listed in 2007 because of danger from MTSU expanding and bulldozing the early 20th century homes. The ultimate goal as stated by university officials is to absorb the entire neighborhood into the campus.
  2. Standing empty again is the Red Rose Dairies building, on the corner of College and Lytle streets, which is endangered from neglect. The Morgan Green family operated the dairy, particularly known for its ice cream, for decades. The building is Art Deco in style and was home to a locally owned coffee shop for many years and its fate currently hangs in the balance, as it remains on the market.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or

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