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Oliver Springs depot makes ‘Endangered 8’

Guest Column

Each year the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance (ETPA) presents a list of endangered heritage sites in the program’s sixteen county region around Knoxville.

May is National Preservation Month. Preserving historic properties has been proven to provide certain benefits to property owners, neighborhoods and entire cities.

The 2017 Endangered 8:

1. Bowman House, Loudon County (New for 2017)

The Bowman House, originally located on the Little Tennessee River and now on Tellico Lake, was built in 1828 by George Bowman, a German immigrant.

2. Davis Creek Primitive Baptist Church, Claiborne County (New for 2017)

The Davis Creek Primitive Baptist Church has been holding services since 1797. It is believed to be the oldest Primitive Baptist Church still holding services in Tennessee.

3. Richland, Shield’s Station and Poplar Hill, Grainger County (New for 2017)

The Blaine area is home to three properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, all located within a 1.2 mile stretch along Highway 11-W.

4. Old Jefferson City Hall– Jefferson County

The Old Jefferson City Hall was built in 1868 by John Roper Branner, one of Jefferson City’s most influential citizens, about the same time as his nearby home known as the Historic Glenmore Mansion.

5. Oliver Springs Southern Railroad Depot – Roane County

Built c. 1893, the Oliver Springs Depot was one of the busiest of the Coster Division. Its popularity grew along with the nationally known Oliver Springs Resort Hotel and nearby coal production. This building is a small-frame style, one story structure. Original interior wood has writing still visible from 123 years ago. It features gables and large overhangs. The last passenger train pulled through the depot in 1968. In 1983 Southern Railway planned to demolish the structure. The town rallied for saving this historic remnant and eventually struck a deal with Southern Railway, provided it would be removed from the site and relocated elsewhere. In 1986, the citizens of Oliver Springs were able to have the building moved across the street with the help of TVA.

6. New Salem Baptist Church – Sevierville, Sevier County

The New Salem Baptist Church was built in 1886 by Isaac Dockery, noted African American builder, and is Sevierville’s oldest surviving building, Sevier County’s oldest brick church building, and the only historic African American church in the county.

7. Former Tennessee Military Institute - Sweetwater, Monroe County

Sweetwater Military College was established in 1874 and was later named Tennessee Military Institute in 1902.

8. Stonecipher-Kelly House - Morgan County (near Wartburg)

The Stonecipher-Kelly House was built around 1814 by the first permanent white settlers in that area, as part of a Revolutionary War land-grant.

Update on the 2016 Endangered 8:

Sadly, the Magnet Mills site in Clinton was recently demolished and is now considered officially “lost”. It is regrettable that a new use could not be developed for the historic mill. A water tower still survives and ETPA recommends it be repaired and incorporated into a new use for the site. Magnet Mills is the second Endangered 8 property considered lost after the Morristown College campus buildings were also recently demolished.