Area’s Top 10 historic sites

The Murfreesboro Post, October 5, 2007

1. Stones River National Battlefield (See Murfreesboro is known for list)

2. Original Rutherford Health Department The former offices of the Rutherford County Health Department, located at the corner of Church and Lytle Streets in Murfreesboro, was the first facility of its type built in the United States. The health department was built by a private foundation to improve a rural community’s public health system.  The county’s public health efforts became a model for the state.

3. Bradley Academy Built on land donated by the Murfree family, Bradley Academy was one of Rutherford County’s first schools.  Students paid $24 dollars a session and were required to provide firewood.  The early curriculum included English, grammar, Latin, Greek, arithmetic, writing, logic, and literature.  Bradley Academy graduated many who would later become important members of both local and state society, including President James K. Polk, and Senator John Bell.  The school later served the black community during days of segregation and produced a number of notable black leaders and educators.  From 1918 until its closing in 1955, the new Bradley Academy building was the cultural center of the African American community.

4. Rutherford County Courthouse (See Murfreesboro is know for list)

5. Fortress Rosecrans Shortly after the Battle of Stones River, the men of the Army of the Cumberland began building a massive fortification that was named after their commander, General William S. Rosecrans.  The story of the fortress and the occupation of Murfreesboro is forgotten story of the Civil War but is in revival due in large part to the efforts of U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon and its connection with the Murfreesboro Greenways system.

6. The VA Campus During Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, few projects had as much regional impact as construction as the Alvin C. York Veterans Administration Hospital near Murfreesboro.  The hospital has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but has not been listed.

7. The Sam Davis Home The Sam Davis Home, which was built along the banks of Stewarts Creek in 1820, rests on 168 acres of farmland.  The two-story home is typical of a Southern, upper middle-class family of those times.  A tour includes a documentary video about the life of Confederate hero Sam Davis and a tour through the nine room main house, original kitchen, smokehouse, overseer’s office and privy.  Authentic Middle Tennessee slave cabins can be seen on the site.

8. Oaklands Mansion and Maney Spring (both make it an excellent site) (See Murfreesboro is know for list)

9. East Main Street historic district:  An overlooked jewel, the East Main Street Historic District, a corridor containing 103 structures along East Main Street and adjacent streets, consists of architecturally and historically significant buildings along this thoroughfare.  One of the earlier residences in the district, an 1838 Federal style home at 332 East Main, was built by Matthias Murfree, the son of Hardy Murfree for whom the city was named.  A walking tour of Downtown Murfreesboro was developed, highlighting many of the homes.  You can pick up a copy of the brochure at Linebaugh Library and other locations.

10. Murray-Jernigan Century Farm The Murray-Jernigan Farm, established in the 1820s by William H. Murray of South Carolina is one of the most intact nineteenth Century Farms in the state.  Around 1850, the family built the two-story white frame I-house.  A short distance from the house is the smokehouse where hams and bacon were preserved.  A blacksmith shop and springhouse also date to the mid-1800s.  One slave cabin remains today out of 10, which were built for slave families.

11. Murfreesboro train depot Built in 1872, the Murfreesboro depot is only one of a few left in Tennessee.  The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, chartered in Nashville in December 1845, was the first railway to operate in the state of Tennessee.  The Murfreesboro depot was the first major stop on the railroad.

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