History Behind the Carlisle House

On Carlisle Lane in Franklin sits a historic home recognizable by its red roof and dome. This house, known to locals as the Carlisle House for its location and the last name of its former occupants, is registered as Centennial Hall and also known as Knights of Pythias Pavilion.

Both of these names speak to the home’s unique origins. It was originally designed by Henry Gibel and built in 1897 on the grounds of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in Nashville, now known as Centennial Park. The neo-classical building functioned as the conference and meeting hall for the Knights of Pythias (a popular fraternal organization in the late 1800’s) during the exposition. It was purchased after, then transported by wagon to its present location where it has stood for over 100 years.

According to local tradition, the home’s first owner, Joseph Parkes, purchased the building and moved it to Franklin in an effort to impress his fiancee, Miss Sophia Fitts. Miss Fitts, however, was unimpressed with Centennial Hall and broke off the engagement. Parkes owned the house until 1912. It has had a series of owners since.

The following is an excerpt from the National Register of Properties Williamson County, Tennessee detailing the homes design:

“On the main facade is a one-story pedimented portico with Ionic columns and terra cotta capitals. The main entrance has an original glass-and-frame door with a large single-light panel. Windows flanking the door boast bracketed sills and pedimented window heads.

The house has a slight gable roof of metal standing seam and a prominent central dome. The round dome has four porthole dormers with acanthus leaf brackets. The roof of the dome is composed of multi-light glass and metal framing and has a large metal finial at the top.”

Centennial Hall last changed hands a few years ago. Pictures from Zillow show the home as it was when it last went on the market.  The famous dome creates a grand, rounded ceiling and allows for ample natural light. Curved walls and hallways also highlight the house’s unique structure.

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1 COMMENT

  1. My mother lived in this house. Her father Dr. Newton Murrey Tucker bought this hours around 1912 and raised dairy cows there.

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