“Rock House” Gets Historic Status


Preservation Alliance Releases 2012 Endangered List

One of the most distinctive one-of-a-kind buildings in Madisonville has made the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance’s 2012 Endangered Heritage list. It is one of 16 surviving structures that have ties as far back as the Revolutionary War, the War Between the States, the Great Depression, and the country’s segregation movement.

It is the old stone structure on Tellico Street just above the jail known as the “Stone Building,” or the “Rock House.” It suffers from neglect and now sits near the old Madisonville City Hall unused and unoccupied.

However, it is on the list of the alliance for this year and as such will become a much more highprofile edifice in line for suggestions by individuals and groups for preservation. The 16 endangered places represent architectural and historic significance.

Built by the New Deal affiliated National Youth Administration in the 1930s as America was emerging from the Great Depression, the Rock House has harbored several agencies, including the county’s health department, the American Legion, the Boy Scouts, offices of General Sessions Court, and most recently the town’s Halloween “Haunted House.”

It is in dire need of repair and restoration, and perhaps being on the endangered list can engender support and vision for the austere square-stoned structure.

Also added to the list is the old 160-year-old Kefauver Home on Main Street in Madisonville, the boyhood home of Estes Kefauver, which partially burned six years ago. This structure, too, is unoccupied but privately owned, and its present state of neglect has allowed it to become one of the city’s biggest eyesores.

Other buildings making the list included a 1793 two-story log house in Hamblen County used by the Confederates during the Civil War, Newport’s Tanner Cultural Center, the LaFollette post office, Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn, the campus of Morristown College, Grainger County rural schoolhouses, Rural Mount in Hamblen County, Dandridge School, Jefferson County Quaker Valley rural farmland, the central business district of Lenoir City, the former Brushy Mountain state prison, Sevier County’s New Salem Baptist Church, Union County’s Oak Grove School, and several neglected cemeteries across East Tennessee.



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