Help Comes Too Late For Old Natchez Trace Landmark

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 General Store remains standing at this time on the Giartanna’s property. The General Store according to Turner also has historical significance:
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.
The future of the General Store is as of now unknown. In a letter from Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director of the Tennessee Historic Commission and State Historic Preservation Officer dated April 2nd of this year:

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.

Sincerely,

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.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Chuck Lynch

    I wish you folks would get your facts straight. The Lynch store was NOT damaged by the 1975 flood… the river is about half a mile from where the store was. Williamson County refused to rezone the store Commercial for my family, so we had no choice but to let the building decay, or pump thousands of dollars into it for no reason. The same fate now befalls my old red barn. It may be torn down, since people like Laura Turner are improperly using its image to foster their other cause, like trying to stop the rightful and lawful use of property by its owners.

    1. Clark Shelton

      The article quotes Ms. Turner, these are her facts, we are quoting them. There is nowhere in this article that states that anyone was trying to stop anybody from doing anything on their property. As a matter of fact the article clearly states conversations with the land owners were made about moving the house.

    2. Jim

      Chuck, you’re barn is being used to sell property in McMansionville, otherwise known as Hillsboro Cove, the property you sold to Bob Parks. The only reason the barn will be torn down is if you let Brandon Jenkins continue his vision of what his neighborhood will look like while he continues to build ponds to hold rain water and flood neighboring property. You sir, have nothing to complain about

      1. Chuck Lynch

        Jim, you are welcome to stop by and bring anybody with you. Then we can discuss both sides of this, and I hope you all will realize that I am trying to save what I can of the area. Just stop by any time. 🙂

  2. Chuck Lynch

    I’m just saying that my barn may be the next building to be dmolished on Old illsboro Road.

    1. Paula Hoffman

      Chuck, I sure hope you don’t demolish your wonderful old picturesque barn. Is anyone forcing you to tear it down? I believe the entire community would be heartbroken. You mentioned someone using its image to foster their cause but possibly your barn was used for the same reason many country music videos have been filmed there…its quaint charm.
      It would be your decision to wreck it but please don’t make that decision in haste like the tearing down of the old farm house across the road from you and leave more sore feelings in the area….just sayin

  3. Chuck Lynch

    I’m sick of the protesters shouting at me, giving me the finger, or blowing their horns at me every day if I am outside. I never owned the property; it was in my Mother’s estate, and I was under penalty of Fraud if I did not carry out her wishes and dispose and distribute her Estate.

    I bought the old farmhouse to preserve it, because a builder was going to double the size of it. I think the neighbors at least owe me the courtesy of recognizing that I am preserving the area. The changes to the place would have been much greater if anybody else had bought the house.

  4. Lewis Hughes

    I hate to hear about this,my grandparents lived in this house and my grandfather ran the store there prior to and part way through WW2 also my father an uncle and an aunt were born in this house. It would have been nice if they would have let the house be moved instead of just trashing it if it was in good enough condition to do so. I guess between time marching on and “progress” old landmarks will always be at risk of being pushed out of the way but I guess we will have memories of the way things used to be.

  5. Brandon Plunkett

    Hated to see this – I understand that it was in pretty bad shape on the interior and lost of a lot of its historic character – but it sure was nice driving by it everyday and seeing it as kind of the “main and main” of the old hillsboro corridor. I can’t imagine on 30 acres that the barn couldn’t have fit – but his decision. Would have been nice to just spend some cash to preserve it – think the property sold for $3.1 million so probably a little room there. An fyi to those that have some power or influence – the store is next – already planning to tear it down so maybe there can be a meeting or county funds set aside to keep it up. Since cars have been invented, they have passed that store every day – would be sad to see it go even if the inside is of no worth. f
    And Chuck, I hate to see that neighborhood everyday going in – but it is probably time to drop the Hillsboro Cove fight – at some point, time to move on.

  6. Chuck Lynch

    If the people don’t stop harrassing me, and if they continue to bother me in any way, the barn will come down. I’m not going to pump money into something that’s mine that people are using against me.

  7. Jennifer Housley

    I’m so saddened by the historical loss of the Old Hillsboro building..We’ve enjoyed looking at it daily as we drove by for the past 33yrs..It had a special charm that we never had in our previous homes in Miami,Dallas,Atlanta..We bought out here to escape cities and destruction of historical places..SAD that something that was here so long had to be removed in a hurry!!

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