LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) — Neighbors on West Main Street in Lebanon feel completely blindsided after a nearly 200-year-old home was demolished in the early morning hours of September 25.
“They felt like it was done underhanded,” said Kim Parks, Executive Director of Historic Lebanon.
The former home of Tennessee Judge Nathan Green Sr. was being studied to be included in an upcoming historic overlay for dozens of properties remaining in the 600 block of West Main. That meeting is scheduled for October 12.
Wilson Bank & Trust, located right next door, purchased the property around September 13. Since the home wasn’t flagged to be reviewed yet, the bank demolished it as part of their expansion plans.
“Legally, they’re within their right, but more community input would be expected,” Parks said. “I think people expect that from the bank and you know we’ve been working really hard to preserve our history this is such a shock someone would demolish this without any input.”
The house was built shortly after Judge Nathan Green Sr. moved to Lebanon in 1850. Green had served on the Tennessee Supreme Court for 21 years before his retirement in 1852. Then, he accepted a position to teach law at Cumberland University.
In a statement to News 2, Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said:
“I am deeply upset about the demolition of this historic home. It was the home of the Greens and the Hookers – two families that were prominent in the legal history of Tennessee. The City Council, the Historic Preservation Commission and I are committed to protecting our city’s history, but we also need help from private entities. In this instance, we did not get that help. We will continue the work of protecting our past and the buildings that represent that past.”
“With all of the growth going on in Nashville region, it’s been coming our way for years and we can’t just let go of our history,” Parks said. “If we do, then we truly are just a suburb of Nashville. We have to preserve ourselves because we have to keep what’s unique.”
News 2 reached out to the bank about what is planned for the property. While that is still being determined, President & CEO John McDearman sent a statement:
“Wilson Bank & Trust values the history and heritage of Lebanon and will continue to support efforts to preserve the legacy of this great community. The condition of the home, which has been vacant for many years, prevented us from restoration in this case. We recognize its historic significance and will acknowledge that in future plans for the property.”
Historic Lebanon is working to finish evaluating each property left ahead of the October 12th meeting. Once the overlay is approved through the commission, it will go to the city council for two votes.