East Nashvillian Issue 20

Page 42



his large, two-story Folk Victorian-style home was constructed around 1899. When originally built, the lot included the adjacent parcels and stretched to the corner of 15th Street; a detached carriage house fronted 15th Street alongside the rear service alley. The home was renovated in 2006, then again in 2011. A detached garage accessed by the service alley was constructed in 2012. The 4,100-square-foot home has five bedrooms and four bathrooms, with an exterior featuring decorative molded trim, a hipped metal roof, four interior brick chimneys, projecting bay windows, multiple wings, new windows, a brick foundation, bracketed eaves and original fish scale siding in the gable. The home’s most distinctive feature is the wide wrap around, semi-circular front porch supported by nine fluted, oversized Ionic columns. The rear yard features a two-story tree house with architectural elements that match the main house. The sewer grate at the sidewalk is inscribed with, “B.G. Wood Nashville 1886 Tenn.” William Henry Worsham (1852-1934), his wife, Eliza (1858-1923) and their family lived in the home from 1907-1912. Their daughter, Dina Sarah Worsham, taught music. A native of Robertson County, the elder Worsham was a partner in Williams & Worsham, a local wholesale grain and grocery store. The following two decades saw the home occupied by George Ringo Gillespie (1876-1927), his wife, Mattie (1875-1963), and family. A native of Marshall County, Gillespie owned a real estate company. By 1930, the house was occupied by Marvin Cloud Nixon, his wife, Gertrude, their two daughters, two sons, and a nephew, as well as two boarders. A native of Carthage, Tenn., Marvin worked as the state manager for the Independent Life Insurance Company. Marvin died of a brain hemorrhage in 1933 at age 51; his widow continued to live here until 1969. In 1940, Daisy Pillows, an African-American maid, lived in a garage apartment. The home sat vacant for nine years before Kortney and Dave Wilson purchased it in the spring of 2012.



November | December 2013

It had undergone several renovations — including being converted into apartments. “We took it on, and we gutted it to take it back to a single-family home,” Kortney Wilson says. She oversaw the historic renovation, returning it “as much as possible to the original look of the home.” This entailed refashioning the14-foot ceilings on the main floor and the 12-foot ceilings on the second level. The large, original pocket doors were also refinished. Alas, the original staircase and hardwood are long gone. “It’s basically a new house on the inside,” Wilson says. One special feature is the backyard tree house, which is an exact replica of the main house. Having been empty for so long, the house seemed to belong to the neighborhood, Wilson says. “As soon as the lights were back on, people stopped by to offer their remembrances of the house in its better days. “The first week we moved in, over 20 people stopped by just curious about the place.” When asked if she let them in for a tour, she didn’t hesitate: “Oh, gosh yes! It’s kind of bizarre. We didn’t feel like it belonged to us at first. It took us a while to feel like it’s really ours, to let the dust settle”. The Wilsons lived on Gartland Avenue for 10 years. “We put our house up for sale just to test the market. It sold in one day.” Though known for their own real estate investments in the area, the housing market was still slow at the time, with few if any options, so the couple looked outside the East Nashville area. They didn’t look long. One evening while still living on Gartland, Wilson says, “We started walking block by block and realized we didn’t want to live anywhere else.” The abandoned property on Stratton caught their attention. “We had been eying it for years and even placed offers on it.” Throughout the four-month renovation period they lived with their two sons and a daughter in a 500-square foot guesthouse on Eastland and out of a storage pod. All the frustration was worth it, Wilson says. “We are in love with this house.”

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