Farms get nod for register; Jenkins may be removed

Doug Davis, The Daily News Journal, September 28, 2006

Two area farms —one in Rutherford County and one in Cannon County— have moved closer to being named on the National Register of Historic Places, but a home on the register since 1989 has been recommended for removal.

“It is sad. It’s like the final piece,” said Kay Morrow of Spike Trail, who started a movement to save the Hiram Jenkins house in February.

The white, two-story, 153-year-old house, located at 1556 Gresham Lane in Murfreesboro, was demolished June 12.

“I was disappointed it was torn down,” the Murfreesboro resident said. “It makes me sad every time I go by there. I guess that is what you call progress. Once you lose something like that, you can’t get it back.”

Many local residents and historians had hoped even though the house no longer stands that the site could remain a designation on the historic register.

“After much discussion the (State Review Board) recommended that the Hiram Jenkins House be removed from the National Register,” said Claudette Stager with the Tennessee Historic Commission.

The board did recommend adding Riverside Farm in Walter Hill and Rucker-Mason Farm in Cannon County for inclusion on the national register. The recommendations will be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington.

Morrow said she approached the Murfreesboro historic zoning commission in early August about doing a survey of the Jenkins property to bolster its continued placement on the register.

“My main concern is there may still be something there,” Morrow said. “There could be remains of soldiers there from the Civil War. There could be remains of slaves.”

She understands that the Jenkins House was used as a secondary field hospital in the Civil War.

Elizabeth Moore, fieldwork coordinator with the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, said there was discussion about taking no action on the Jenkins house and revisiting it at a later Review Board Meeting. The board meets in January, May and September. She said there was some discussion about doing a further assessment of the property.

“There was a motion to defer, but that did not receive a second,” said Stager. “Then a motion to remove, that passed.”

Morrow said she understood the board’s action.

“You can’t keep a house on the register that is not there,” she said.

Riverside Farm, at 1218 West Jefferson Pike, and the Rucker-Mason Farm, at 837 Hare Lane in Porterfield, both received favorable recommendations from the board.

“Each of them maintain a high degree of historical and architectural integrity,” said Moore.

The Center for Historic Preservation asked that the two properties be considered for addition to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Riverside Farm (or Pierce-Randolph Farm) was built in 1831 and is owned by Beverly Randolph Jones. The nomination form said that the farm includes the house, an antebellum log dogtrot, a historic shed and pasture. The house has a historic portico with Italianate brackets. There is also a shed (circa 1880) and agricultural fields dating back to the 1800s.

The Rucker-Mason Farm dates back to the early 1800s. It includes a dwelling with sections from 1800, 1802 and 1840. There is also a cedar log kitchen dating back to 1800 separate from the main house, a smokehouse (circa 1800) and a family cemetery where the first known burial was in 1825.

The property owners are Greg Tucker, Carl Montgomery and Charles Montgomery, all with a Bradyville Pike-Readyville address.

“Both nominations were approved,” said Stager. “We will make any changes to the nominations and removals that are necessary (typos and board requests) and forward them (in the next month) to the Keeper of the National Register for final review (in Washington). Once they get the nominations, they have (45 days) to review them and list them in the National Register or return them.”

Moore feels confident of the nominations of both farms.

“Both are good to go. There are a few technical corrections on the Riverside Farm nomination, but nothing of note,” she said.

— Doug Davis, 278-5152

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