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3rd Quarter 2015
New Projects, New Members, New NETWORK News!
The NETWORK newsletter brings you all the latest in preservation and TPT news. 
New Board Member Spotlight

Dr. Charles Womack
Executive Committee Chair

Dr. Womack is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Tulane University Medical School.  He is an active member and has served as President of the Putnam County Medical Society.  He served a term with the Tennessee Medical Assoc. Board of Trustees from 1994-97, serving as Chairman 1996-97.  Dr. Womack was Chief of Staff of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center and was the Mayor of the City of Cookeville.  He is currently serving on the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2001.

Photo by Jenn Harrman
Ten In Tennessee


As of May, Cordell Hull has found a permanent occupant. The state legislature approved a move into the historic mid-century modern gem after a cost analysis showed that renovations of their current location at the War Memorial and Legislative Plaza would cost significantly more, $44 million versus $58 million. Last year, $350,000 were spent on repairs and over $1 million spent on utility costs at the War Memorial building. This exceeds the typical costs for a building of similar-size with updated systems, and helped instigate the decision to move locations. A total of $74 million will go into renovating Cordell Hull with an estimated move-in date sometime in 2017.

The Cordell Hull building was placed on our 2013  Ten In Tennessee list for threat of demolition. Following the increased awareness and advocacy for saving Cordell Hull, the state chose to spare the building and undergo a full renovation pending funding. Over the past years, the building has stood largely vacant.

Call For 2015 Nominations

Our search for the 2015 10 most threatened historic sites in Tennessee begins this summer! If you are interested in submitting a nomination, the criteria for listed properties and nomination application can be found here. The final list will be selected and announced later this fall.
Highlander Crew
TPT and Tennessee Tech at Historic Highlander
--Dr. Michael Birdwell, TPT Vice President

As the nation looks back at the tragic racially motivated events that have occurred in the last year, few people know the role the Highlander Folk School played in the Civil Rights movement. Founded by Myles Horton-a student of Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the most influential theologians of the 20th  Century-and Don West in 1932, the school, located on the Cumberland Plateau near Monteagle, focused on adult education, literacy, leadership, and problem solving. With the help of African American activist Septima Clark, Highlander began sponsoring Citizenship Schools, which paved the way to training sessions in passive non-violent civil disobedience based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mohandas Gandhi. In 1955 Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks gathered in the library at Highlander to learn about non-violent civil disobedience and planned the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Over the years a host of people, including John Lewis, Andrew Young, Pete Seger, Diane Nash, and Will Campbell trained at Highlander to advance the progress of the Civil Rights movement.

Several historic Highlander structures in Grundy County are currently under the control of the Tennessee Preservation Trust (TPT), the only state-wide partner with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Recently an apartment adjacent to the historic library building, where so many Civil Rights advocates trained, planned, and interacted, sustained significant water damage and threatened the integrity of the structure. TPT sponsored a work day on March 14, and volunteers helped to rip out the damaged walls, flooring, and other items. Volunteer Dr. Calvin Dickinson said, "I just wanted to be in the same room where one of the most significant events in my lifetime took place." The building, a modest cinder block structure with some elements of Danish design, may look inconsequential but it is a historic treasure.


With its proximity to Interstate 24 and South Cumberland State Park, it is TPT's hope that the historic Highlander campus will once again be a destination for education, heritage tourism, and an interpretive center in partnership with other Civil Rights centers in the U.S.

TPT Receives First Preservation Easement Donation - Old Town Bridge
--Phil Thomason, TPT Board Member

The TPT has received its first preservation easement - and on one of the most significant structures in the state. The "Old Town Bridge" in Williamson County was constructed in 1801 by the U.S. Army as part of the building of the Natchez Trace. The Natchez Trace is one of America's most historic roads and connected Nashville with Natchez in Mississippi. It provided the first overland route for settlers in the Cumberland and Ohio River Valleys to travel home after floating goods and produce down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The Old Town Bridge was built to span Brown's Creek near its confluence with the Harpeth River. The bridge originally consisted of two limestone abutments and a wooden deck for wagons, horses and those traveling on foot. Although the Natchez Trace fell into disuse by the late 19th century, the bridge served local farmers for several more decades. By the mid-20th century the wooden deck had deteriorated and the abutments suffered from erosion and neglect. The owner of the bridge donated the easement to the TPT as part of their restoration efforts. The Dry Stone Conservancy of Lexington, Kentucky was hired to rebuild the north bridge abutment this summer and plans are underway to rebuild the south abutment in 2015. The restoration and easement will ensure the long-term preservation of this unique resource in Tennessee. 

Interested in donating a preservation easement?
Photo from Outdoor Wood Works website
Spotlight On Preservation Professionals

Middle Tennessee

Outdoor Wood Works  is locally owned and operated and specializes in wood decks, fenching, screened porches and decorative front porches. They are also known for their exterior and interior specialty projects.
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Join us and help save Tennessee's historic places. Your membership supports the programs and iniatives of the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

2015 TPT Board of Directors

Dr. Charles Womack

Vice Chair
Dr. Michael Birdwell

Nancy Williams

Jeff Wells
David Currey, Nashville
Ann Gray, Chattanooga
Jill Holland, McKenzie
Brianne Huitt-Thornton, Chapel Hill
Harold J. Hunter, PhD, Johnson City
Scott Kriebel, Nashville
Pam Lewis, Franklin
Dr. Reavis Mitchell, Jr., Nashville
Carrington Montague, Chattanooga
Juan R. Self, Memphis
Phil Thomason, Nashville
Elaine Turner, Memphis
Greg Vital, Chattanooga
Deborah York, Pall Mall

Ex-Officio Member Organizations

The Land Trust For Tennessee - Emily Parish
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development - Lee Curtis
Tennessee Division of Archeology - Mike Moore
Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities - Elliot W. McNiel, CAE
Tennessee Historical Commission - Patrick McIntyre

Tennessee Preservation Trust

The Tennessee Preservation Trust is a not-for -profit membership-based organization that provides leadership, education and advocacy to promote the preservation of our state's diverse historic resources. We are the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.