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Nine Tennessee Sites Added to the National Register of Historic Places

Sunday, September 14, 2008 | 07:00pm

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced nine Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.  It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources.  The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee.


Sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places include:

  • Colored Hotel (Obion County) – In the segregated 1940s there were few accommodations for African Americans traveling in West Tennessee.  Bama Gordon built the Colored Hotel in Union City in 1945 to fill that gap.   The hotel was close to US 51, a major north-south route, and local tradition indicates this was the only hotel for African Americans between Chicago and Memphis.  Owners expanded the building in 1965 and 1975, when the focus of the building changed from a hotel to an entertainment venue.  Over the years the building served as a social center for the community and was a stop for numerous African American entertainers.   It is an important building in African American social history in Obion County.
  • Copperhill Historic District boundary increase (Polk County) – Overlooking the Copper Basin in Polk County, the Copperhill Cemetery has been added to the National Register-listed Copperhill Historic District. The 7.93-acre cemetery contains burials dating from 1895 to 1998. Most of the burials are concentrated in the 2.5 acres situated on the crest of the hill. Volunteers have recently removed heavy vegetation in the cemetery.  It is an important part of the history of the community of Copperhill and the mining industry in the region.
  • Fire Hall No. 1 (Davidson County) – The 1936 brick fire hall, located in the Germantown area of Nashville, is an example of how fire halls were designed to blend into their neighborhoods.  With its distinctive Tudor Revival style, the building is similar in design to twentieth century Nashville residences.  In addition to being notable for its architectural style, Fire Hall No. 1 is an important example of suburban growth and development in Nashville.  In the early twentieth century Nashville was expanding by annexing suburban areas and it was necessary to provide municipal services to these new parts of the city. Fire Hall No. 1 was one of five fire halls in the city built using Depression era Public Works Administration funds.   The building is now in private ownership and is being rehabilitated for use as offices and community meeting space.
  • First Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Gibson County) – This Gothic Revival style church was built between 1899 and 1901 in the West Tennessee city of Humboldt.  In 1929, a two story annex was constructed and in 1964 an education building was added to the annex.  The pointed arch windows, ornamented towers and sanctuary space are character-defining features of the church.  Stained glass windows by the renowned Jacoby Company in St. Louis show biblical images and are one of the more important elements of the building.
  • First United Presbyterian Church (McMinn County) – Constructed in 1892, Athens’ Gothic Revival style First United Presbyterian Church is highlighted by two towers, each with entrances into the sanctuary, and a large multi-light stained glass window.  Inside, the finely crafted wood ceiling and theater-style seating are original features of the building.  The congregation was organized in 1889 and served not only as a church for the local African American population, but also as a community center.  The building was used as a school around 1925-26, after the Athens Academy, a school for African Americans established by the Presbyterians and the Freedman’s Board, was destroyed by fire.  The building is important for its architecture and for the role it played in African American social history in Athens.
  • Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery (Robertson County) – Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery was once the largest producer of sour-mash whiskey in Robertson County, but today the only historic resources that remain on the five-acre site are an early twentieth century warehouse, springhouse, and barrel house.  The distillery was important to the commercial and industrial heritage of Robertson County from 1885 until the state’s prohibition in 1909.  During much of this time, distilling was a major industry in the state and Robertson County was one of the top producers of whiskey.  Charles Nelson, the founder and proprietor of the Greenbrier distillery, was also involved in banking, farming, barrel making, and other activities related to his distillery.  The property is now listed in the National Register for its importance in industry, commerce, and its association with Charles Nelson.

  • Noblit-Lytle House (Giles County) – The Noblit-Lytle House is the center of a 178-acre farm located near Minor Hill.  Thomas Hughes Noblit built the house as a log dog-trot building in 1848.  Noblit’s son-in-law, William F. Lytle, enlarged the house in the 1890s and updated it to the popular Queen Anne style.  A log smokehouse, frame dairy barn, springhouse, family cemetery, and stone walls are other historic features on the farmstead.  In addition to the architectural character of the farmhouse, the property is also important as an example of settlement patterns in Giles County.
  • North Hills Historic District (Knox County) – This historic district includes approximately 50 acres and 142 houses along the boulevards of the North Hills subdivision in Knoxville.  The subdivision was platted as an automobile accessible neighborhood in 1927 for the Fielden brothers’ North Hills Corporation.  The district is a good example of suburban middle-class residential development with a strong emphasis on early to mid-twentieth century revival residential architecture.  Prevailing styles include English Cottage and Tudor revivals and Colonial Revival.  Fine examples of Ranch houses and Minimal Traditional houses can also be found in the district along with a collection of eclectic houses that incorporate numerous styles.
  • Temple B’Nai Israel (Madison County) – The 1941 temple located in Jackson’s Lambuth Area Neighborhood is important for its history and architecture and is one of the few properties in the state listed in the National Register for its significance in Jewish heritage.  The congregation started in 1885 and held services in various places, including homes of congregation members, until growth in the Jewish community allowed for the purchase of a place of worship.   Several years later, continued growth and prosperity led to the construction of this temple.  The Romanesque influenced design of the brick building is shown in the arched entry, articulated walls with arched window openings, and towers.  One of the more unique components of the building are the original stained glass windows which were designed by an artist that subsequently went to work with Laukhuff Glass of Memphis.

For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the Web site at

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