Posted by: smyrnatnhistory | May 10, 2008

National Register of Historic Places

According to the National Register website, there are 3 listed properties in Smyrna.  The first one, of course, is the Sam Davis Home.  Owned by the State of Tennessee, it was built ca. 1820 by Moses Ridley.  (Remember Moses?)  Originally built as a log structure, the Davis family made the modifications that rendered a Greek Revival style home.  Added to the Register in 1969, the Sam Davis Home is open to the public and well worth a visit.

Idler’s Retreat (also known as the Dillon-Tucker-Cheney House or Cold Chimneys) is located on Oak Street, not far from the Sam Davis Home.  Built by Joseph Dillon in the mid 1800’s, it was added to the Register in 2004.  The home was inherited in the 1920’s by Frances Neel Cheney (a grand niece of Sam Davis) after the death of her aunt Lizzie Davis Tucker.  Frances (known to friends as “Fannie”) was a Library Science Professor at Peabody College.  Her husband, Brainard “Lon” Cheney had a long and interesting career as a writer.  While residing at Idler’s Retreat they counted Flannery O’Connor and many of the Fugitive Poets among their guests.  There is a nice exhibit on the Cheney’s on display at the Smyrna library.  More on Idler’s Retreat and the Cheney’s to follow.

Ridley’s Landing (Ridley-Buchanan House) stood on the grounds of Youth Incorporated.  The home was built in the early 1800s by Moses Ridley (Once again, Moses!).  Due to the ravages of time and lack of funding for adequate renovations, the home had to be torn down in the late 1980’s or early 90s.  Though much of the original acreage was lost due to the creation of Percy Priest Lake, 175 acres and some of the original outbuildings remain.   A beautiful and serene lake front property, it is a fabulous summer camp for kids!



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