Historic Places Tour to feature several unique stops

Staff Reports • Updated Nov 20, 2013 at 1:05 AM

Historic Lebanon will feature its sixth annual Historic Places Tour on Dec. 7 from 5-8:30 p.m.

The Historic Places tour highlights several of Lebanon’s historic homes and structures. By shining a light on these local treasures, Historic Lebanon hopes to increase awareness of Lebanon’s history and stress the importance of local preservation efforts.

In light of the recent approval of a historic zoning ordinance by the Lebanon City Council, Historic Lebanon will continue to showcase areas of the city that deserve preservation efforts and zoning.

Limited shuttle transportation to the tour sites will be available. Pick up will be at the Capitol Theatre box office with vehicles provided by Wilson County Motors. Patrons are welcome to drive themselves on the tour. Parking is available on the Lebanon Public Square, Wilson Bank and Trust Main Office and on S. Tarver Ave. and Cumberland University. As an added feature, this year’s tour ticket will offer a discount on admission to the Festival of Lights at the James E. Ward Ag Center.

“Historic Lebanon is proud to bring the tour to the community each December,” said Historic Lebanon director Kim Parks. “This would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors Cumberland University, title sponsor Tressler and Associates, Ligon and Bobo Funeral Home, CedarStone Bank, Thackston Family Foundation and Wilson Bank and Trust. 

Tickets are $10 and are available at the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce office at 149 Public Square, Wilson Bank and Trust Main Office at 622 W. Main St. and Historic Lebanon’s office at 315 West Spring St. or by calling 615-547-9795. Tickets are available the night of the tour at the Capitol Theatre box office and any of the tour sites.

The Capitol Theatre’s lobby and upstairs area only will be part of the tour. The theatre’s auditorium will not be open to tour goers as a local play will be holding a performance.

The following are featured on this year’s tour:

The Capitol Theatre at 110 W. Main St., 1949

Since acquiring the property in 2009, owners Bob and Pam Black have worked to bring the Capitol Theatre back to its former glory. A grand re-opening was held in June to the delight of the community. Features to notice inside are the art deco-style staircase and the original back- painted movie poster displays. Upstairs originally housed a balcony and crying room for patrons. The area is now an event space with great character.

The Foutch Home at 708 W. Main St., circa-1887

John and Aileen Foutch were familiar with their “new” old house before they began an expansive yearlong rehabilitation in August 2011; John Foutch’s grandparents, Osborne and Dorothy Foutch, had made it their home beginning in 1970.  The two-story brick house was built in 1887 just east of Cumberland University’s theological school, Divinity Hall. The university used both structures until 1916 when the property, including Divinity Hall, was sold to Laban Lacy Rice as an annex to Castle Heights School. Since 1925, it has been a private residence.

The present owners added a 1,800-square-foot expansion, including a master bedroom suite and living room. The original exterior brick of the 1887 house is visible in the living room. Patrons should take time to notice the original beadboard ceilings in two of the upstairs bedrooms, as well as original mantels in the dining and music rooms.

The Bonner Home at 126 Castle Heights Ave., circa-1936

Beth and Jeff Bonner acquired their colonial revival-style home with Tudor accents in February 2007 directly from the family of the original owners, J. Bill Frame and wife, Bessie. In 1936, the Frames bought a lot in the then-developing neighborhood for $500 on which to build their new home. J. Bill Frame was the editor of The Lebanon Democrat from 1938-64. He was also president of the Tennessee Press Association in 1963.

The Bonners have preserved the character of the home while thoroughly updating the interior. During the rehabilitation project many items were found in the walls and under the bathroom floor. These ‘treasures” are destined for a curiosity box.

The original owners planted the magnolia tree in the front yard soon after construction of the home.

The Strawbridge/Hayton Home at 111 Caruthers Ave., circa-1936

Joseph Canfield Grannis and his wife, Walton, built the Strawbridge/Hayton home in 1936 on property then being subdivided by Annie Hearn Partee. At this time, the Partee property fronted W. Main Street and bordered the “old R. L. Caruthers property” on the west and the Dixie Hotel and Tennessee Central Railroad along the eastside. Caruthers Avenue, originally called Chambers Avenue, provided access to W. Main for the new building lots.

Joe Grannis worked the Linotype at The Lebanon Democrat for many years. His daughter, Mary Anne Granni,s was the first young lady from Lebanon to volunteer for the U.S. Navy in 1942.

Patrick Strawbridge bought the house in 2005 from family members of the original owners.

Known for its holiday decor, the Strawbridge/Hayton home will not disappoint tour goers. The owners are going all out for the tour with numerous Christmas trees and grand decorations.

The Winfree Home at 508 W. Spring St., 1999

The home of Derek and Amanda Winfree was built in 1999 shortly after fire destroyed the original house built here by George Gould Smith and Margaret Sanders Smith. It is an excellent example of suitable infill building appropriate for historic neighborhoods. The traditional-style brick house compliments the surrounding architecture of older dwellings in the neighborhood and blends well because it is properly scaled so as not to intrude on the architectural rhythm created by earlier construction along the street.

Since acquiring the house in April 2013, the Winfrees have repainted the interior, and updated both the upstairs bath and the downstairs powder room.

Proequities, Inc. at 104 E. Main St., circa 1900

ProEquities, Inc., investment advisors, moved into its new home on E. Main Street in the fall. Business owners Gary and Jeff Poling are delighted with their new location.

The building was the home of the Exchange Furniture Co. in 1900 shortly after the building’s construction and remained a furniture store in various incarnations until the late 1980s. At that time, this and several adjoining buildings were used by new owners for McCullough’s Office Supplies and Equipment. Craighead Home Sales boutht the building in 2012 and spent nearly a year rehabilitating the structure. The brick building is a contributing structure in the Lebanon Historic Commercial District placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Its continued commercial use demonstrates the importance and viability of repurposing historic structures for present-day use.

Wilson County Election Commission and former federal post office at 203 E. Main St., 1913

Lebanon’s federal post office building is a fine example of neo-classical revival style with Beaux Arts details, including the curled ribbon swag detail in the stone window lintels on the east and west facades, as well as the carved wooden lintel over the front doorway. The building is a two-story, seven-bay yellow brick structure with a cut stone foundation. The limestone Corinthian columns are adorned with capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and a simple rounded base.  Inside the building, East Tennessee pink and gray marble is used to great effect for flooring and moldings.

 “Lebanon’s federal post office building stands as a testament to the concept of repurposing quality historic structures. Housing the U.S. Post Office, a school, government offices and now the Election Commission over the last century demonstrates that historic landmarks can continue to be utilized in the community,” said Philip Warren, Wilson County Administrator of Elections whose offices are the current occupants.

The building is recognized as a contributing structure in the Lebanon Commercial Historic District and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 as a part of this district. The structure celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of laying the cornerstone in October 2013.

The Lebanon Public Square, 1802                                             

The Lebanon Public Square formed in 1802 around and over the Town Spring. Those who walk over to the northwestern corner of the square can hear the rushing water of the spring. The square has housed four county courthouses, Sam Houston’s law office and monthly mule-day sales. It felt Gen. George Patton’s tanks during World War II maneuvers and has been the home of countless businesses during the years.

Several fires over the years have taken all of the original buildings. The current buildings date from the late 19th century to the 1940s. The one exception is the Bank of America building that dates to the 1960s.

The square is a vital part of Lebanon’s history and is the heart of its historic commercial district.

The Lebanon Public Square will be featured on the tour as the square merchants and the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce hold the annual Christmas on the Square

event. A live nativity scene, merchant open houses, and holiday activities are planned for the evening. For more information, contact the chamber at 615-444-5503.

Sweet Thing Bakery at 233 W. Main St. will also be open during the Historic Places tour. The bakery is housed in a classic 1890s Queen Anne-style house.

“Stop by to fortify yourself with sweet treats and appreciate the historic setting of the bakery,” Parks said. “The annual Historic Places tour and the Christmas on the Square event are a great way to spend a wonderful night in your community and to support local historic preservation efforts.”

Recommended for You