On Wednesday afternoon, a week after Tennessee Historical Commission Executive Director Patrick McIntyre, Jr. deemed the old Perkins Family Farmhouse, located on the corner of Old Natchez and Old Hillsboro Road, eligible for the National Historical Register, it was torn down by the property owners to make way for a new barn.
The property, owned by Nashville developer Tony Giarratana and his wife Lisa Giarratana, is adjacent to historic landmark Forest Home. According to Laura Turner of oldnatcheztrace.org, efforts were trying to be made to move the Perkins House so as to preserve the home and allow the Giartannas to facilitate the use of their property. While discussions had been made, and funds were being raised, the Giarratanas had let it be known that time was of the essence.
According to Turner, she was asked to find some pictures of the original property by the Giartannas. During that search, Turner found that the Perkins and their property, which was sold in October of last year, was c.1890s and was part of an original postal route for this part of the United States. According to Turner:
In that search, we were able to determine that the store and the farmhouse were built by Edwin Maury Perkins (grandson of Thomas Hardin Perkins who built Meeting of the Waters) in 1899. The Perkins family is one of Williamson County’s founding families. Generations of the Perkins family lived at Meeting of the Waters until 1988. The Perkins family cemetery is across the street on Del Rio Pike. Edwin Maury Perkins built the store and the farmhouse for the honorable Thomas Elliot Haynes, an attorney, who was in 1886 appointed postmaster for Williamson County. It is interesting to note that President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. soldiers to construct the Natchez Trace to facilitate mail delivery in this part of the United States. Thomas Haynes served in the Tennessee General Assembly and was a C.S.A. war veteran who was in the Perkins Company of the Douglas Calvary during the Civil War. The store and the farmhouse were built as investment properties by the Perkins family.
The store was originally named the McMillan store. For many years, two general stores faced each other on this corner but the other one, the McPherson Store, was damaged in the Flood of ’75 and removed in 1981.Almost everyone in our rural historic Forest Home community is living on what once was Perkins land. The land was given to Thomas Hardin Perkins as a Revolutionary War land grant. Forest Home is near the center of what once were vast Perkins family plantations which included Hillside, Meeting of the Waters, Montpier, River Grange, Two Rivers, and Walnut Hill. It is uniquely distinctive that the general store is still standing at this once very vital commercial node of early Williamson County.
Dear Ms. Turner:
I am deeply concerned to learn of the potential loss of the frame, c. 1890s house at Forest Home located at the intersection of Old Natchez Trace and Old Hillsboro Road. The house and the country store mark the gateway to a very special rural area of Williamson County along an intact route of the Trace, and I have passed by many times and admired the ensemble. In 2010, when I co-chaired the National Preservation Conference, I brought a group of historic preservation professionals from around the country to this very neighborhood to view the special character afforded by this area.
Significantly, the house and store have previously been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The loss of either of these buildings would be to the detriment of the historic character of the area and to the time-honored landscape of Williamson County.
I stand in strong support of all efforts to preserve these historic resources and would be glad to be part of the conversation on how to move forward while retaining these structures. I will be watching this situation with great interest. Please do not hesitate to call upon our office if we may be of assistance.
E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr.
Executive Director and
State Historic Preservation Officer
If you would like information on how to preserve the General Store, contact Laura Turner by e-mail. This is just another in a series of efforts by oldnatchez.org to try to preserve the rural beauty of the Old Natchez Trace area.