Yet another event that seemed doomed by the weather forecast turned out beautifully. Urban Woman and I love touring historic homes and were happy the weather provided an opportunity to walk the level, well laid-out tour at the 25th Annual Fourth and Gill Tour of Homes. Coincidentally, we were joined by friends Greg and Kristen and we made a foursome for the trip, which made it more enjoyable. Greg, who hasn’t been in the city very many years, had never seen the neighborhood. Kristen knew many of the people and homes and Urban Woman and I fell somewhere in between.
I was struck, once more, with how seemingly few homes haven’t been renovated, though there are a few. The huge responsibility taken on by owners to purchase, renovate and maintain these homes can’t really be understated. Some were originally in very poor condition. The larger homes, particularly, require a significant amount of upkeep. It truly must be a labor of love and involves more money than the purchase price.
All the information in this post is based on the excellent booklet provided to everyone who took the tour. The level of detail and thorough documentation is exceptional and a special thanks to those who did the research and the writing. The direct quotes are from that booklet. Not to slight anyone of whom I simply do not know, but I understand Arin Streeter had a large hand in the text, if not writing it in its entirety. Photo and text credits would be a nice addition for next year.
The Epiphany Rectory at 813 Deery Street was built in 1891 and orginally inhabited by attorney M.E. Buckley and reflects a Queen Anne style, which is a bit more understated than the Victorians. The home was used as a rectory for Epiphany Episcopal Church for several years beginning in 1900. “Most of the house’s woodwork is original, including built-in cabinets in the kitchen and four fireplaces.
I hadn’t read this description when we walked through, but you can tell the fireplaces were what struck me. Whether the marble mantel in the front room or the wooden mantels through the rest of the house, each were beautiful. Notice the great tile work in the foreground of each.
The Ault Lodging House, built in 1902 at 721 Luttrell Street for Martha Ault, a widow, was used as a boarding house from its inception. “Though remodeled extensively over the years, much of the woodwork, flooring, and some of the doors are original to the house.” It’s one of the most beautiful homes in the neighborhood and I was happy to see it again, having toured it previously. Work is almost finished and quite a few projects underway the last time I saw it have been completed.
It’s beautiful throughout and features twelve stained glass windows. But it’s beauty doesn’t stop on the inside. The beautiful front side of the house is obvious, but hidden in the back is a gazebo with a fireplace, a water feature, and gardens. It’s really a showplace.
The Coffin-Lawson house at 630 Eleanor Street is the only survivor of three homes built in 1906 on two city lots. Interesting, Alice Coffin is given as the person who purchased the property in 1909 (why not she and her husband?). “Her husband Hector, a Confederate veteran, was a grandson of Dr. Charles Coffin, the third president of East Tennessee College, now the University of Tennessee . . . Their son Hector Coffin, Jr. entered the retail shoe business in 1905, and Coffin Shoe Company still operates a retail store in Bearden.”
The home, which like many large, older homes, had been sub-divided into a multi-family dwelling, was restored to a single family home in 2014 by the current owners. The interior is a mixture of modern and period and the antique light fixtures, though not original to the home were quite striking.
Built in 1906, the William P. Miller House at 940 Eleanor was inhabited by the owner of Champion Marble, who lived there with his family until 1920. Broadway Baptist Church acquired it in 1920, using it for a parsonage until 1939. The home began subdivision into apartments, starting with two and ultimately holding seven and “its condition declined.” In 1993 the home was reduced to two apartments and the staircase was restored. “A new owner and another renovation plan around 2010 brought the house back to a single family residence, something it hadn’t been in over 70 years.”
The stairwell is beautiful, as are the fireplaces. The artist who is painting the walls was present. The metal backsplash in the kitchen and the metal ceiling tiles in an upstairs bathroom caught Urban Woman’s attention. These tours are always perilous to our personal finances – not the tour itself, but the aftermath.
I’ll conclude this portion with the Whiteside House. Built in 1915 at 1117 Eleanor, it is one of the more common bungalow style homes that are more common int the northern end of the neighborhood. A little different from most of the other homes in the neighborhood, this was built with the intention of being a rental investment. After four years it was purchased by Roy and Fannie Whiteside and she lived there continuously “until her death in 1970.”
Since this home didn’t get subdivided as early – though it did become a two-unit home for a while – “it retains many of its original features – original light fixtures in the front room, woodwork and built-ins that were never modified or painted, and two fireplaces with their original oak mantels, tile fronts and and iron screens.” I loved the “built-ins,” one of which you see pictured here.
I’ll follow with an additional five stops in the neighborhood tomorrow to conclude the tour.