March/April, 2019 Froe Chips, Barry Lamb
When one drives down the bustling thoroughfare know as Memorial Boulevard, it is difficult to imagine the rustic scene that once dominated the landscape where the Hartman-Alexander-Dee-Stroop home once claimed its habitation when it was first built.
That edifice, formerly located at 1433 Lebanon Pike (present day Memorial Boulevard), was built during the 1870s by Dr. Alexander Hartman, a local dentist and farmer, and a native of New York. The good doctor had married his wife, Laura Vaughn, in Madison County, Alabama in 1867, and by 1870, he had moved his family to Murfreesboro and was residing in the 2nd ward of the town. It was the following year that he purchased 100 acres of land fronting the Lebanon Pike that was once owned by Dr. James Maney of Oak Manor. It is reasonable for one to assume that the construction of the home was begun soon after the purchase of the Maney property, but no definite date could be verified by this writer.
The imposing landmark had a lime-stone foundation of five feet and consisted of four large rooms down-stairs and four large rooms upstairs with twelve foot ceilings in each of the rooms.
The distinguishing feature of the home was its two story stairway tower which began on the second floor and rose above the roofline to give the home a three story appearance. It was here that Dr. Hartman raised his family of five, including his oldest son, William Vaughn, and two daughters, Annie (Mrs. Emmett Collier Allen), and Grace (Mrs. Harry Stevenson McCarroll).
The home was sold to Jesse Wallace Alexander and his wife, Martha Virginia Abernathy Alexander, in 1900. Their three children included: Lucy (Mrs. Walton Lawrence Smith), Mary Jane, and Ruth Virginia (Mrs. John Otis Key). The Alexander family occupied the place for 53 years before selling the home to Mr. and Mrs. John Dee, who named their new home, “Erin-Aeol”, which reflected their Irish and Italian heritage. The final owners of the home were Dalton and Margaret Stroop, who purchased the place in 1958 and lived there 16 years before selling the property to Thomas and Sterling Farmer in 1974. The life of that magnificent one of a kind Murfreesboro home came to an end that year when the Farmer brothers had the place demolished. In its stead, the Farmer Brothers Insurance Agency building was constructed and a restaurant known as the Kentucky Ribeye Steakhouse was built.
At this writing an automobile dealership known as Rite Ride Incorporated occupies the space where the home once stood.