Historic Jenkins House to be removed from National Register of Historic Places

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The Jenkins House before demolition. (TMP File Photo)
The review board for the Tennessee Historical Commission voted to remove the demolished Hiram Jenkins House from the National Register of Historic Places Wednesday.

“Because it was nominated for its architecture not its archaeological deposits or history, (the Jenkins House) should be removed because the house is gone,” said Jim Thompson, explaining the action of the review board.

Thompson, who sits on the review board and the Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission, said the action was “unfortunate.

“I think it sends a message to developers and other people that the history and the culture of our society is not as important as development and growth,” he said.

Thompson wasn’t allowed to vote on the matter due to his membership on the Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission.

The Hiram Jenkins House at 1556 Gresham Lane was demolished June 10 by the property owners. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance. The nomination was completed in 1989.

The loss of the designation makes the property vulnerable to development using federal funds.

The Jenkins property was listed May 31 as one of the 10 most endangered historic properties, based on the threat of commercial development, by the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

The approximately 11.5 acre property has a commercial zoning and is for sale.

Many Historic Zoning Commission members, local residents and historic enthusiasts have expressed concern about the loss of historic properties in the city and continued development of land where the Battle of Stones River occurred.

The Tennessee Historical Commission first instructed the local body to hold a public hearing on the measure in August. The Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission voted last week not to recommend delisting the property.

Lorne McWatters, vice chair of the Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission, has said the Jenkins property is still significant even though the house no longer stands.

The property is within the 4,000 acres where the Battle of Stones River raged and the house served as a field hospital during the Civil War battle.

The Murfreesboro Historic Zoning Commission hoped the state review board would recommend keeping the property on the list for the potential of archaeological deposits from the Battle of Stones River remaining in the ground.

State officials, however, indicated that an archaeological survey hadn’t been completed on the property and there hasn’t been any indication that one is warranted.

Van West, director of the Center for Historic Preservation, who oversaw the nomination of the Jenkins property for inclusion on the National Register, said there was no evidence available to include the house on the National Register for anything other than its architectural significance.

He told review board members that he has heard numerous concerns from the public on the loss of the house and its potential delisting.

The measure now moves to the keeper of the register under the National Park Service for removal.
Read more from:
The Battle of Stones River
Civil War, Heritage, Hiram Jenkins House, History, Murfreesboro, National Register of Historic Places, Rutherford County, Tennessee Historical Commission
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