Pre-war homes—those built before 1939—are architectural gems. They are sturdy, charming, and often what people are referring to when they look at the prevalent colorless, linear designs of today and lament “they just don’t make them like they used to.”

In some ways, that’s a good thing. Pre-war homes often contained materials we know to be hazardous today, like asbestos and lead. But their signature characteristics, including hardwood floors, nickel accents, ornate crown molding, and high ceilings, are among the features many people look for in a dream home.

| Check out more lists and rankings from across Tennessee

Preserving the history of these properties, many of which you’ll find on the National Register of Historic Places, is labor that often extends beyond the scope of an individual homeowner. Depending on where these homes are located, special permission by local historic commissions may be required before renovations can be done in an effort to preserve their historic architectural integrity.

Stacker compiled a list of counties in Tennessee with the most pre-war homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest percent of homes that were built before 1939 based on 2020 5-year estimates.

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Franklin County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.6%
– Homes built since 2000: 18.7%
– Median year built: 1983
– Total homes: 19,508

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Washington County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.7%
– Homes built since 2000: 24.5%
– Median year built: 1984
– Total homes: 60,778

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Roane County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.8%
– Homes built since 2000: 17.8%
– Median year built: 1978
– Total homes: 25,690

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Bedford County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.8%
– Homes built since 2000: 25.5%
– Median year built: 1987
– Total homes: 19,345

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Claiborne County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.8%
– Homes built since 2000: 24.4%
– Median year built: 1984
– Total homes: 15,539

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Dickson County

– Homes built before 1939: 7.8%
– Homes built since 2000: 22.2%
– Median year built: 1986
– Total homes: 22,097

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Gibson County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.0%
– Homes built since 2000: 19.8%
– Median year built: 1975
– Total homes: 22,662

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Marshall County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.1%
– Homes built since 2000: 23.6%
– Median year built: 1987
– Total homes: 13,775

Scott Basford // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Loudon County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.1%
– Homes built since 2000: 32.1%
– Median year built: 1991
– Total homes: 23,393

Christina Blust // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Humphreys County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.1%
– Homes built since 2000: 18.0%
– Median year built: 1979
– Total homes: 8,983

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Hamilton County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.2%
– Homes built since 2000: 21.9%
– Median year built: 1978
– Total homes: 163,605

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Morgan County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.3%
– Homes built since 2000: 24.5%
– Median year built: 1984
– Total homes: 9,055

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Overton County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.3%
– Homes built since 2000: 19.3%
– Median year built: 1980
– Total homes: 10,385

Flickr user chiacomo // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Lake County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.3%
– Homes built since 2000: 13.5%
– Median year built: 1976
– Total homes: 2,592

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Jackson County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.4%
– Homes built since 2000: 18.2%
– Median year built: 1985
– Total homes: 5,919

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Weakley County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.4%
– Homes built since 2000: 17.8%
– Median year built: 1978
– Total homes: 15,613

Canva

#14. Haywood County

– Homes built before 1939: 8.4%
– Homes built since 2000: 16.5%
– Median year built: 1977
– Total homes: 8,419

Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com) // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Obion County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.3%
– Homes built since 2000: 12.9%
– Median year built: 1974
– Total homes: 14,615

Cj4258 // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Henry County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.4%
– Homes built since 2000: 17.1%
– Median year built: 1982
– Total homes: 17,270

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Crockett County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.5%
– Homes built since 2000: 14.0%
– Median year built: 1976
– Total homes: 6,427

Canva

#10. Grundy County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.6%
– Homes built since 2000: 21.0%
– Median year built: 1983
– Total homes: 6,467

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Houston County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.9%
– Homes built since 2000: 17.6%
– Median year built: 1980
– Total homes: 4,238

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Smith County

– Homes built before 1939: 9.9%
– Homes built since 2000: 17.0%
– Median year built: 1982
– Total homes: 8,838

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Clay County

– Homes built before 1939: 10.2%
– Homes built since 2000: 21.0%
– Median year built: 1985
– Total homes: 4,367

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Lincoln County

– Homes built before 1939: 10.6%
– Homes built since 2000: 21.7%
– Median year built: 1982
– Total homes: 15,624

⏩ Find more Top Stories from wkrn.com

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Carter County

– Homes built before 1939: 11.1%
– Homes built since 2000: 15.7%
– Median year built: 1978
– Total homes: 28,236

Ichabod // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Giles County

– Homes built before 1939: 11.2%
– Homes built since 2000: 18.9%
– Median year built: 1981
– Total homes: 14,156

Canva

#3. Perry County

– Homes built before 1939: 11.7%
– Homes built since 2000: 20.2%
– Median year built: 1986
– Total homes: 4,681

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Hancock County

– Homes built before 1939: 12.1%
– Homes built since 2000: 19.6%
– Median year built: 1983
– Total homes: 3,609

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Unicoi County

– Homes built before 1939: 13.2%
– Homes built since 2000: 14.1%
– Median year built: 1976
– Total homes: 8,914