Erin Edgemon, The Daily News Journal, July 14, 2006
A Lascassas mansion that served host to countless parties and charity events for decades
was demolished Friday.
Developer David Waldron, of Waldron Enterprises, said his company hadn’t finalized plans to tear down the 171-year-old home in an interview early this week. His company purchased the 151-acre Loyd Haven Farm at 3875 East Jefferson Pike last summer from Epps Edwin Matthews III for $2.1 million to develop it as a county residential
subdivision to contain at least 216 homes.
The demolition permit for the house was issued to Waldron Enterprises by the Rutherford County Building Codes Department Thursday. Waldron couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
In interviews Rutherford County Planning Director John Davis said plans for the subdivision did call for the demolition of the house.
The Loyd Haven mansion is just the latest antebellum home that Rutherford County has lost for future development in the last several weeks. The Hiram Jenkins House at 1556 Gresham Lane, which served as a field hospital during the Civil War, was demolished June 10 likely to aid the sale of the property zoned commercial fringe.
Among the other antebellum homes in jeopardy is the McCulloch House at 565 River Rock Boulevard. Developer Brian Burns said the home is beyond repair and will be demolished to likely make way for the construction of townhouses.
A local preservationist group, who attempted to save the Jenkins House, has taken up the McCulloch House as its next cause. The McCulloch House served as the headquarters for the Confederate Corps commander Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee during the Battle of Stones River.
John H. Phillips, who owns property on East and West Jefferson Pike, was sadden to drive by the Loyd Haven Farm Friday and see the mansion being torn down. His son was killed in a traffic accident on the windy and narrow Jefferson Pike a few years ago.
“I hate to see the history of not only the county but the state destroyed,” he said. “It bothers me to see these things torn apart.”
Phillips, a lifelong resident of Rutherford County, said he understands a property owner’s right to develop his or her own property, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of preserving history.
Phil and Susan Loyd owned the Loyd Haven Farm from 1972 to 2000. The mansion, built in 1835, is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places and likely didn’t play a role in the Battle of Stones River. Sometime in its long history white clapboard and Greek Revival portico was added to the house.
“We took care of it and considered it a landmark,” Phil Loyd said of the farm. He said they only sold the house because they were spending less and less time there over the years, and they wanted to purchase a home in Florida.
The white fence that lines the front of the farm where the Loyds used to raise cattle was kept painted, and the grounds maintained during their time on the farm. Over the past few years, the fence has faded and the trees and the grass have become overgrown.
In an interview early this week, Loyd said he and his wife were “devastated” about the developer’s plan to demolish the house and subdivide the farm. “We thought it would always stay a special space,” he said. “We didn’t think the county would ever allow a subdivision there with no sewer.”
“But the problem, I guess is that the community doesn’t have any organization involved in trying to protect old properties,” Loyd said.
As of just one month ago, Loyd said the farm and house had been neglected but it was not in ruin.
Waldron said the mansion was beyond repair.
Emerson Johnston, of Woodbury, and a former caretaker of the farm, said words cannot describe how he feels about hearing of the demolition of the mansion.
“I put 12 years of my life in the farm,” he said. “It is terrible.”
Loyd said he and his wife had regretted selling the home, but they were under the impression Matthews intended to live in the home and maintain the farm.
The home was originally built as a four pen log house with rooms of equal size set two over two on either site of the house with a central hallway on each floor, according to Hearthstones: The Story of Rutherford County Homes, a book published by Oaklands Association Inc. and the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU.
The property was part of a land grant awarded to Barry D. Redmon in 1809, and the deed to the property dated 1847 names Randolph V. Jones as the owner. Jones’ family had been living in the county since as early as 1817.
Supposedly, a massive cave referred to as Cave Spring is still on the property.
—Erin Edgemon, 278-5161