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Nearly $9M to help reinvest in historic buildings in 16 cities

Harriman Temperance Hall
Known as the "town that temperance built," the city of Harriman's identity has long been tied to that of its iconic Temperance Hall, built in 1891 - the same year as the city's founding.

Nearly $9 million in Tennessee Historic Development Grants will be going to preserving 31 historic landmarks in 16 municipalities across the state of Tennessee.  

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) announced the recipients of $8.7 million in Tennessee Historic Development Grants, including historic homes, churches, commercial structures, education sites, and public spaces.  

Vose School in Alcoa
The four-room Vose School began life in 1916 as the school for the children of employees at Alcoa, an important institution in the former company town. 

“Tennessee is known for its quality of life, and at TNECD, we have the privilege to take part in community development programs that assist in restoring and preserving some of our state’s most unique and historic assets,” said TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter. “Through the latest round of the Historic Development Grants program, communities across Tennessee are taking steps to revitalize their historic buildings so that they can continue to serve as catalysts for future economic opportunity.” 

The program is approved by the Tennessee General Assembly to renovate and preserve historic buildings by encouraging communities and private developers to invest in historic buildings, allowing those structures to again contribute to the local economy. The $8.7 million in state funding is expected to help leverage more than $18 million in private investment.  
“The Tennessee Historical Commission is proud to have the opportunity to provide assistance in this program to ensure that the legacy of Tennessee’s historic landmarks continue to inspire generations to come,” said Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission and state historic preservation officer. “Historic properties are being rehabilitated across our state, including the Snuff Factory Warehouse in Memphis and the Vose School in Alcoa where work is being accomplished thanks to the economic incentives from the Historic Development Grants and Federal Historic Tax Credits.” 

Built in 1916 to educate the first children of the Alcoa company, the Vose School in Alcoa will be renovated using a $300,000 grant. The 1872 commercial structure at 20 North Washington Avenue in Brownsville will be renovated through a $198,000 grant.  

Merril-Wlliams House
Formerly the home of an important family in Franklin's African-American community, the Merrill-Williams House will see new life as a heritage and learning center highlighting African-American history for all Williamson County. 

In Chattanooga, four projects were awarded funds. Preserve Chattanooga received $24,000 for work at the Terminal Station, also known as the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, built in 1909. The former Chattanooga Bank Building will be renovated with a $300,000 grant to turn the 10-story building constructed in the 1920s into a hotel. The Tivoli Theatre Foundation was also awarded $300,000 to renovate the circa 1888 Trigg-Smart Building. 

In Columbia, the War Memorial Building will be renovated through a $300,000 grant to Maury County. Originally Columbia’s post office when it was built in 1907, the structure was turned into a memorial for Maury County soldiers in the 1940s. A private citizen and former student who received $400,000 for the rehabilitation of the Kimsey Junior College building in Ducktown, which was built in 1932. The building is being used as an event center with other plans for the future.  

Three projects in Franklin were awarded funds. The American Heritage Society of Williamson County will receive $192,092 to rehabilitate the historic Merrill-Williams House, which will serve as a heritage site, museum, and public learning center. Five Points Properties has also received $112,500 to renovate the White Building, 1923-structure at the Five Points Intersection. The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County also received $300,000 to rehabilitate the historic Winstead House, an 1870s structure now part of the O’More College of Design.

 The circa-1925 building at 129 South Main Street in Greeneville will be renovated through a $320,000 grant to a private individual. The city of Harriman will receive $300,000 to rehabilitate its historic Temperance Building, a site that not only preserves the history of the city’s founding but is also an iconic symbol of Harriman itself. In Jellico, Appalachian Health services received $496,316 to rehabilitate the Union Bank building, which includes three historic storefronts in the Jellico Commercial Historic District.  

Several projects in historic downtown Morristown received grant funding, including the J.W. Arnold building, far left. 

Two Johnson City projects were awarded funds. The JC Radio and TV Service building in Johnson City will be renovated with a $280,521 grant. Johnson City Opportunity Properties will be renovating the two-story, two-part brick commercial structure from 1925 located at 128-30 Spring Street. A grant of $108,015 was also awarded to renovate the J.W. Hunter Building, a former general store dating to 1886. 

In Martin, the J.F. Parker Building, a former hardware store built in 1897, will be renovated by Woodfire Pizza Kitchen using a $219,800 grant.  

Four projects were awarded grants in Memphis. The Memphis Overland Building, one of the first auto dealerships in the city built in 1916, will be renovated by the Chestnut Cycle Shop using a $300,000 grant. One of three black-owned institutes of learning in the city, the Griggs Business and Practical Arts College was founded in 1916 and will be renovated with a $300,000 grant. The American Snuff Factory Warehouse, dating from 1912 when it anchored the city’s “snuff district,” will also be renovated with a $300,00 grant as will the Continental Cement Company Building.  

Somerville Building
Once Walers Grocery, the structure on the square in Somerville is now the Somerville-Fayette County Gallery of Art and History. 

Six projects will receive funds in Morristown. The J.W. Arnold Building, a former dry goods store in Morristown, will be rehabilitated through a $400,000 grant. Another $400,000 grant will be given to rehabilitate the J.W. Arnold Building, a four-story, circa 1907 commercial building at 103 West Main Street, while $129,340 will be used to renovate the circa-1902 commercial structure at 177 West Main Street. The former J.G. McCroy five and dime store in Morristown will receive a $400,000 grant. Another $400,000 will go to renovate the Sheeley Piano Building into lofts while $300,000 was awarded for renovations to the Tulip Street Church.  

The Somerville and Young’s Barn in Paris will be renovated through a $400,000 grant. In Rogersville, a private individual has received $200,000 to renovate the Presbyterian Church Parsonage. The structure was built in 1838 and served as a parsonage until it was turned into an apartment building in the 1940s.  

Historic Rugby, Inc., will receive $168,000 for work on the Uffington House, the home of the community’s matriarch built in 1881. The town of Somerville is also receiving $300,000 to renovate the former Walers Grocery, circa 1870, now the Somerville-Fayette County Gallery of Art and History.  

For more information on the grant program, visit this link.