Jakes preserves historical home for modern use

Jason Reynolds, The Murfreesboro Post, December 20, 2018

A house dating to the late 1800s has been lovingly restored and found new life.

Murfreesboro real estate broker Bill Jakes held an open house and ribbon-cutting on Monday, December 10 for the house at 305 North Highland Ave. that is his new realty office. The Rutherford County Chapter of The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities planted a marker outside to recognize the 126-year-old house’s architectural and historical importance.

The house has been named the McCullough McCarty Jakes Home. The estimated construction date, based on property tax records, is 1892, Jakes said. However, he has property records predating the Civil War, before the house was built. The lot was exchanged casually a number of times during the Civil War, and so the title had to be cleaned up before the house was built, he said.

The APTA signs, which can be seen around downtown Murfreesboro and scattered through Rutherford County, display the most influential owners of the properties as well as the year of construction, said Jakes, who is the chapter president.

Jakes started renovation of the property in November 2017. After a full year of site improvements and restoration, Bill Jakes Realty is ready to operate from the property.

Jakes said, “It’s so very gratifying to have an opportunity to save a historic structure in such a visible part of our city. I have been interested in local history and architectural preservation for many years; this just feels like a perfect fit for my business.”

The house was built by McCullough family members in 1892 and after living in it briefly, they moved to Nashville and converted it to a duplex rental property, Jakes said in a press release.   E.L. and Gladys McCarty purchased the home in 1947. Their daughter, Mary McCarty Roberts, inherited it in 2009. She and Jim Roberts sold the home to Bill and Sarah Jakes in 2016.

The house was a single-family rental when the Jakes bought it, the broker said. It had served as a duplex between the 1920s to 1947 when the McCarty family bought it and converted it back to a single-family use.

The architectural details tell the story of downtown Murfreesboro home construction, the local APTA chapter said in a press release. The style is known as a “Gable Front & Wing,” which was common in Rutherford County around the turn of the 20th century.

These homes were mostly built on piers made of cut or stacked stone. The framing lumber was usually oak or other hardwood with floors made of heart pine and casings and moldings made from poplar. At the time of construction, the homes often did not have indoor plumbing. So, bathrooms are often located in shed-roof additions. Jakes’ house displays all of these characteristics. His research has revealed that the porch was enlarged around the time plumbing was added, about 1915.

Steve Cates, a member of the APTA chapter, said the chapter was organized shortly after the forming of the state organization in 1951. The APTA markers are placed outside churches, private homes and other structures that are at least 75 years old. They contain the names of families who have owned the property, including the current owner, as well as the year the building was completed.

“To be marked, a site must be researched by the person doing the nominating, an application must be completed and then the local chapter votes to decide whether it will actually be done,” Cates said. “We are currently working on updating a book done some years ago about each site which has been marked, including a picture.”

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