After the Civil War, Brentwood was left devastated, its many plantations and farms had been stripped by both armies who scrounged for food when supplies became scarce. The reconstruction period was no better. Real recovery didn’t begin until the 1960s. For Brentwood, it was the decision to become a city that has made all of the difference.
In May of 1969, Emery Pewitt, John Sloan, Jr., and Bob L. Robinson were elected as the first three commissioners for the newly incorporated City of Brentwood. From this roster, Emery Pewitt, who received the highest number of election votes, at 335, became the Mayor. Bob L. Robinson became Vice Mayor.
Brentwood’s incorporation had been pushed by the Chamber of Commerce. The platform was minimal taxation, strict zoning regulations, and keeping the community the same. One of the first acts, once the commission and mayor positions were set, was to draw up the charter.
The town had a population of less than 4,000 residents, and only 958 households. Roads, water, sewerage removal, and community safety were priorities to ensure steady growth.
A private fire department was formed, and the commission decided to create a full-time police department. Pewitt helped with a grant to fund the new department. Howard D. Buttrey was hired on February 1, 1971 as the first Chief of Police. He served until 2000.
Other major events during his tenure were the building of the sewer treatment station and pumping plant on Little Harpeth, the city’s one-acre density ordinance, Maryland Farms Office Park, and the Moore’s Lane intersection.
Sales tax the first year amounted to $25,000.
The first City Hall was located where Local Taco is currently located.
When not mayor, Pewitt was the owner of Pewitt Service Station. He opened it with his brother Luther in 1938. It was where the Odyssey Salon is now located.
He was honored at the first Brentwood Christmas Lighting Ceremony, which took place in the 1970s, by John Sloane, Jr., who was then Mayor of Brentwood. Eddy Arnold, the country singer, read the Christmas Story, and Brentwood Academy Chorus sang carols.