Jenkins home among most endangered

Erin Edgemon, The Murfreesboro Post, May 22, 2006

Murfreesboro’s Hiram Jenkins House is listed as one of the most endangered historic places in the state by the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

The non-profit historic preservation organization included the house at 1556 Gresham Lane on its annual “Ten in Tennessee Endangered List” for the threat of commercial development.

Built in 1853, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. The two-story home was built in the Greek Revival style.

The home also is one of the last remaining structures associated with the Battle of Stones River.

“To me it is a great piece of architecture,” said Van West, director of the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU. “It was cutting edge for its time.”

The home and the 11.5 acres it sits on has been up for sale for several months. The property, currently listed by Sims Realtors, Auctioneers, is zoned commercial fringe.  This zoning classification would allow for the development of such small businesses as walk-in restaurants, branch banks and daycare centers.

Being on the statewide endangered list, may bring the property to the attention of a developer with the capital to  restore the property, West said.

“I would like to see some adapted use developed and put into effect,” he said.

Kay Morrow of Spike Trail started a grassroots effort to save the Hiram Jenkins House a few months ago. Since February, the Save the Jenkins House Campaign has collected over 300 signatures on a petition asking the city of Murfreesboro to purchase the house and restore it.

“We are very very happy to have it listed on the Top 10 list,” she said. “We are hoping that someone will take and interest and buy it” and restore it.

Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Preservation Trust, said the property could be used as a museum or be incorporated into a commercial development.

Someone who purchases the property for restoration and for an income producing use will be eligible for a tax credit, he said. Non-profit organizations or a city would be eligible for grants for the restoration of the property.

The land, where the house and a barn still stand, was originally given to James Jenkins of Pennsylvania as part of a land grant for his service in the Revolutionary War. Jenkins came to Tennessee with his son Aaron and his family. Aaron’s sons, Hiram and Nimrod, managed the 1,900-acre parcel of land for many years. Hiram’s son James went on to inherit the land in 1870 following Hiram’s death.

— Erin Edgemon, 278-5161

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