4. Campbell Westbrook House (819 West Main Street)
ABOUT THE CAMPBELL WESTBROOK HOUSE:
The grand Campbell Westbrook House was the original location of O’More College of Design, but it has humble beginnings as a smaller house that dates back to 1828. Around 1887, Edward Brown Campbell (nephew of John B. McEwen, the mayor of Franklin during the Civil War) and wife Jennie Campbell built a new Queen Anne Victorian around the existing structure. The exterior of the home features a gable roof and central tower while the interior boasts a massive staircase, cast iron mantels—one of which retains the original faux marble finish—and three red glass transoms. Red glass was a sign of wealth because gold was added to turn the glass red.
In 1967, Mrs. W.W. Pitts of Brentwood purchased the house, which had deteriorated after being divided into three apartments, for her daughter Eloise Pitts O’More. Eloise extensively remodeled it and opened O’More College of Design in the home. In 1979, the school relocated to Winstead Place (renamed “Abbey Leix Mansion” in honor of an abbey founded in Ireland by an O’More ancestor) on South Margin Street. Eloise sold the house on West Main Street to Clairborne “Wink” Kinnard whose great uncle had built the home. Larry and Candie Westbrook are the current owners.
WHY I LOVE THIS HOUSE:
The Campbell Westbrook House is a slice of Americana, a classic home that calls to mind apple pies, tire swings, and bicycles with baseball cards in the spokes. The only thing I would change? I’d replace the wrought iron railing with a white picket fence—and maybe hang an American flag.
I also love this house because of its underdog story. This home had been sorely neglected and received a second chance when it was transformed into a design school—one can only imagine the interior of such a place. The house retained the original woodwork, stairways, mantels, and blue poplar flooring, and Eloise Pitts O’More brought it all back to life. Don’t you just love a good Cinderella tale?