Forgotten Landmark-Ballentine House, Pulaski (TN)

Ballentine House, 300 Block of S. 1st Street, Pulaski, TN (Pic from Google Streetview accessed 12/19/2010)

This structure was built in 1825 by Andrew Mitchell Ballentine (1792-1858), an immigrant from Ireland.


Maury County (TN) Historical Society

Maury County Historical Society


Who are We?     The Maury County Historical Society is a non-profit society, chartered under the laws of the State of Tennessee, for the purpose of recording the history and promoting the preservation of historical properties, records, and artifacts of Maury County. It carries out its program of activities through its duly elected directors and committees, reporting to its members by means of bi-monthly meetings, published newsletters, printed bulletins and direct correspondence.

 Its membership is open to all persons who have similar interests, regardless of their residence, race, creed or station in life.

Current Projects

The Maury County Historical Society is working on the following projects at present:


1. Genealogical Section, Maury County   Public Library.

The Maury County Historical Society is working with the Board and the Staff of Maury County Public Library to improve its already important Genealogical Section. Friends who have visited the Library in the past months have noted that the Genealogical Section has been moved from the balcony to the main floor. This gives better access to the area; provides more space for shelving, work tables, microfilm readers and storage of important documents; and makes it possible for the Library Staff to supervise the sector; and provides space for future growth.In the past few years, the Society has been able to fund several important items for the Library. When Mrs. Jill Garrett decided to dispose of her volumonous personal library some time before she passed away, she gave it to the Society, directing that it be archived, indexed and stored in the Public Library so that it could be used by persons interested in general or family history. (NOTE: The Jill Garrett collection is now in the Archives.  In fact, most of the genealogical library is now at the Archives.) The Society provided funds to carry out Mrs. Garrett’s wishes and the materials are now available. Funds have also been appropriated for additional cabinets; for the aquisition of the back issues of Columbia newspapers (notably, The Columbia Daily Herald) from the first extant issues in the late 1800’s to about 1990; for the purchase of the important four volume set of Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files and for the four volume set of Index to Revolutionary War Service Records; and for the microfilms of Maury County Deaths, 1914 to 1925.


2. Historic Site Marker Project.

There are several important sites in Maury County that are almost unknown to friends who pass along our streets and highways. For some years, the State of Tennessee was able to fund the erection of markers to indicate the location of many of these historic places. Budget restrictions have now almost eliminated State funds for these markers. Interested local groups can, however, erect them at their own expense. The same rules and regulations that the State applies to its own signs must still be observed for those erected by local groups.  These include the presentation of adequate proof of historic importance of the event, place or person being memorialized. In 1997, the Society funded the erection of the first of what is planned to be a series of these markers in the county. The first was placed in the square in Santa Fe where Captian James Madison Sparkman organized the MauryLight Artillery.


Membership dues: at present $10.00 per year. The Society is studying whether or not to increase these dues.  It is costing us twice the amount of the dues just to print and mail to our members the quarterly HISTORIC MAURY magazine.  We do not feel that our members want us to continue to go in the red for this service.  At present, however, it is $10.00 and if you send in your membership immediately, that is all you will have to pay this year.

Send us the following information:

 –Name of person and spouse (both included in one


–Complete mailing address.

–Telephone Number.

–E-mail address, if you have such.

–You might want to list with us the families you are

    interested in, if you are a genealogist.  We will try

    to get them listed in our Researchers  page.

That’s it, folks.  Just send the above information and you check to:

Maury County Historical Society

P. O. Box 147

Columbia, TN 38402

Lost Landmark-Fairvue Plantation, Gallatin (TN)

Isaac Franklin Plantation (Fairvue), Gallatin, Tennessee, October 2003. National Historic Landmarks Program photograph.

This structure was erected in 1832 by Isaac Franklin and was known as “the finest country home in Tennessee.”  The ceilings of the attic bare the names of company and regimental units, traced with candle smoke by Union soldiers.  Franklin, the first owner of the property, was born in 1789 to parents of moderate means.  By his fortieth birthday, he was a millionaire.  Besides the home and plantation at Fairview, he owned 50,000 acres of land in Texas and had some holdings in Louisiana and Mississippi.  In 1839, he married Adelicia Hayes, a member of a prominent Nashville family.  Franklin died in 1846.  In 1882, Charles Reed of New York, a rich turf man, bought the property and built an immense stone barn with a shed that covered an exercise track for his horses.

In 1934, the property once again changed ownership after going into receivership and being purchased by William H. Wemyss. The Wemyss’ undertook a multi-year restoration project due to natural deterioration and to restore the house’s internal decorations. Under the Wemyss’ stewardship, Fairvue was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The National Historic Landmark boundary encompassed 560 acres and included the 2 1/2-story red brick classical home, three slave houses, an overseer’s house, springhouse, icehouse, and the Franklin vault ruins.

The current condition of the property bears little resemblance to its historic use as an antebellum southern plantation. The area surrounding the house has been developed into a golf course community with houses and other facilities placed directly adjacent to and interspersed within the property’s main house and outbuildings. Various alterations have been introduced to the main house itself so that it no longer conveys its historic association as an antebellum plantation home. A one-story addition built on the southeast corner of the rear (east) elevation, the introduction of new woodwork and drywall, the widening of doorways, and the retrofitting of the southern section of the house with a modern interior layout, all contribute to the mansion’s loss of integrity. In addition, windows and fiberglass shutters are replicas of the originals while windows have been introduced to the previously open south end of the loggia. Due to this loss of historic integrity, National Historic Landmark designation for Fairvue was withdrawn on April 4th, 2005.

Lost Landmark-Woodlawn/William Rodes House, Richmond (KY)

Woodlawn taken 1989 by Brenda York

Woodlawn (Before 2005) (Google Maps accessed 12/14/2010)

This residence was built in 1822 by General Green Clay for his daughter, the wife of Colonel William Rodes.  John Fox, Jr., wrote a description of this house in his novel Crittenden. Woodlawn was occupied by both Union and Confederate forces during the War Between the States. The house was dismantled in 2005 and removed from the county.

Woodlawn Site (After 2005) (Microsoft Bing Maps accessed 12/14/2010)

Forgotten Landmark-Bernheimer Oriental Gardens, Pacific Palisades (CA)

Site of Bernheimer Oriental Gardens, 16980 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, CA (Pic from Microsoft Bing Maps 12/10/2010)

From an Oriental gatehouse, a palm-lined private road led to a hill crowned by a group of small one-room Japanese houses the home of Adolph Bernheimer, a cotton exporter and designer of the gardens, who in 50 years made 17 trips to the Orient collecting the treasures in the house and gardens. To the left of the gatehouse was a reproduction of the stables in the temple grounds at Nikko, Japan, in the black, mauve, and gold colors characterizing all the buildings. Beside the stables was a rock-lined lily pool with a bronze miniature of Lao-tse, Chinese philosopher of the 6th century B.C., mounted on a horse.

The exceptionally life-like bronze figure of Ten-Jin, ninth-century Japanese religious teacher, mounted on a representation of a sacred ox, watched over the entrance to the flower and bronze-lined path which winds to the Bernheimer home. Each room of the home was a separate house, although the four units were connected by pergolas. Treasures included color paintings on rice paper many hundreds of years old, bridal and temple kimonos, fingernail tapestries woven by specially-grown fingernails; and two pairs of devil-dogs, the traditional protectors from evil spirits, the female of each pair represented with suckling pups. More bronzes enhanced the downward path to the Sunken Garden, among them a Burmese Buddha in a “wishing well.” At the bottom was a miniature lake, replete with miniature temples and figures of warriors and elephants.

Bernheimer, a native of New York, began collecting Oriental objects in 1887, came to Los Angeles in 1913, and in 1915 created an Oriental garden on a hilltop near Hollywood Boulevard and Franklin Avenue. Work was begun on the present location in 1925 and completed in 1927. Total expenditures came to $3,000,000.

American Auto Trails-Free iPhone/iPad App

   American Auto Trails


American Auto Trails locates historical sites, landmarks, and points of interest along America’s U.S. Highways and in its historical cities.  Each site, landmark, and point of interest includes background information based on the research of the American Guide Series of the 1930’s and 40’s.  Regularly updated free information is provided for individual State historic parks and local and national historic preservation organizations which are supported by this application.  Choose a highway or city to explore, download the Auto Trail route, and revisit the history along that highway and around that city.

Visit our American Auto Trails page for the current list of available routes.

Forgotten Landmark-Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale (CA)

Grand Central Air Terminal, Air Way between Grandview and Sonora Avenues, Glendale, CA (Photo taken in 2002 by Gabriel Shadid)

The Grand Central Air Terminal was the Los Angeles terminus of the Pan-American Airways and the Mexican Aviation Company.  It also served as a United States Customs port of air entry. The offices and waiting rooms were in a tan stucco Terminal Building, on the Air Way side of the 220-acre landing field. The government-approved Grand Central Flying School had its headquarters at the field, around which were several private flying schools and many aircraft shops. The air squad of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office was based here; hangars provided space for private planes.

The “crate” in which Douglas Corrigan “lost his way” on an announced flight from New York City to California in 1938, landing next day in Ireland, was pieced together and tuned up on this field. The field, established in 1928 by a small group of aviation enthusiasts, passed the following year into the hands of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation which enlarged and developed it. It was later been superseded in large part as a transcontinental and international airport by the Union Air Terminal at Burbank (now Bob Hope Airport).