Seven Lincoln County sites, including several homes, churches and old school buildings, are under consideration for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places in Tennessee following a tour by state historic preservationists here last week.
“Our county is just so rich in history,” said County Mayor Bill Newman after leading the group on a tour of several sites last Monday. “Many of these sites have been on our radar for a long time, and I’m just glad that now we’re getting them in front of the right people, who can facilitate their nominations.”
Accompanying Newman on the tour were Sarah McLeod, historic preservation planner with the South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD), and Rebecca Schmitt and Chris Kinder, historic preservation specialists with the Tennessee Historical Commission. At each of the sites they visited, they were greeted and briefed by locals who could share their significance.
Currently, Lincoln County has 13 sites and three districts already named to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Lincoln County has some amazing sites and so much wonderful history,” said McLeod, whose position with the district is funded by way of a generous federal historic preservation grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission. Lincoln County and Fayetteville are among the 13 counties and 35 municipalities served by SCTDD.
“Mayor Newman called me when I first got this job and told me he had several sites he thought I should see,” she said, noting that a part of her position is to evaluate sites worthy of nomination to the National Historic Register. Among her other duties, she is also charged with getting to know counties across the district and historic sites already on the register, assisting owners of historic properties in applying for federal grants and helping them use federal historic preservation tax credits for rehabilitation.
Last week’s tour began at the site of what was once the West Market Street School, which long served as an African American school until desegregation in the 1960s. The building was also the former home of the Fayetteville Police Department until its move to a new location at the corner of College and Franklin in 2016.
The group also toured downtown Mulberry, an area known for the unique architecture of its churches and several homes. At the center of the town is a monument dedicated to the “remembrance of the 300 Confederate unconquered soldiers who sent out from Mulberry,” erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906.
The 1860’s farmhouse of what is today the Mulberry Lavender Farm and Bed and Breakfast was also toured. The farm was once owned by the famous distiller Jack Daniel’s older brother, Wiley.
Stoney Point Church of Christ, a church no longer active, was also visited. The church building, located on Gimlet Road, was built in the 1890’s.
The old Howell School was toured, as well as the antebellum home built in 1958 by Andrew Greer, son of Revolutionary War hero Joseph Greer. The home is located at 3188 Lewisburg Highway just outside of Petersburg.
The Gill Farm on Gingerbread Road in Petersburg was also a part of the tour.
The process of preparing to nominate the sites for the National Register of Historic Places is expected to take six months to a year, McLeod said, explaining that the aim of the tour was to help determine the eligibility of the sites for the National Register. “
“Once Rebecca and Chris review the sites, then we will know if they are eligible or not,” she explained. From there, McLeod will spend a great deal of time in archives, researching the properties and talking with people as she compiles the information required. The State Review Board meets three times annually to evaluate the significance of the properties and make nomination recommendations to the National Park Service.
“So many of these locations have amazing architectural elements and a good story to tell,” she said. “As a historian, it’s wonderful to do this type work, because you get to share the history of homes, buildings, and other sites that might otherwise be lost.”
The designation doesn’t limit the rights of property owners to use, develop or sell their historic properties, she said, noting that it also doesn’t require those sites to be maintained, repaired, or restored. It also doesn’t require the properties to be open to the public or automatically bring about historic district zoning.
There are certain criteria that properties must meet for them to be considered, and among those is a general requirement that the site be 50 years of age or older.
Current historic sites
Sites in Lincoln County already on the National Register of Historic Places include the following:
Borden Powered Milk Plant where the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum and Civic Center is located on South Main Street in Fayetteville, the Children House about nine miles west of Fayetteville on U.S. Hwy. 64; The Isaac Conger House northeast of Fayetteville off Hamestring Road; the Wyatt House, also known as the Hugh Bright Douglas House, at 301 Elk Avenue N. in Fayetteville;
Harms Mill Hydroelectric Station located off of State Route 15 on the Elk River; Harris-Holden House east of Howell on Daves Hollow Road; the Kelso Bowstring Arch Truss Bridge north of Kelso on Stephens Creek Road; Lincoln County Poor House Farm on Yukon Road in Coldwater;
The McDonald-Bolner House at 400 Elk Ave. S. in Fayetteville; the Mimosa School on Mimosa Road; Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 305 W. Maple St. in Fayetteville; and St. Paul African Methodist Church at 521 W. College in Fayetteville.
There are also several historic districts on the register, including the Mulberry-Washington-Lincoln Historic District in Fayetteville; the South Elk Avenue Historic District, also in Fayetteville; and the Petersburg Historic District, roughly bounded by Church, Railroad and Gaunt streets.