Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Historic Bolivar, Part 3

It's time for another Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer. I hope you'll stop by, say hello to Susan, and check out all the other participants. Thank you, Susan, for making this event possible

Today, we're continuing the tour of Bolivar, Tennessee, with homes in the East Main Historic District. If you saw the Antebellum Estate Sale post, you'll remember this house:

This tour will be the equivalent of stream-of-consciousness literature. As I walked down the street with a camera (yes, I got a tiny bit of exercise capturing these images for you!), I sometimes alternated between taking next-on-the-right and across-the-street images.

This is the house directly across the street from the estate sale home:

Next on the right, past the estate sale house.

So much of Southern life used to be lived on the wide and deep front porches of homes like this one. With a fan in one hand and a cool glass of lemonade or iced tea or, even better, an invigorating mint julep in the other, people watched the world go by. Often "the world" stopped by for good conversation with friends, neighbors, and relatives.

Across the street again. Can't you imagine how beautiful this street is in Autumn, with tall old deciduous trees in almost every single yard?

The third house on the right:

Mallory Manor, circa 1870. It's being renovated, and ... it's for sale! Any takers?

I had to steal a backward glance at this beauty!

The next on the right is, for me at least, one of the street's most charming.

Looking across the street again ....

And another look back. Isn't the "gingerbread" trim wonderful? I think it has the look of an enchanted cottage.

Next on right. More gingerbread and stained glass above the front windows.

Next on right ... a shady porch with large shrubs providing privacy.

Across the street is Magnolia Manor, the bed and breakfast we saw yesterday.

Here's a beautifully restored and maintained Craftsman-style house.

One more look across at Magnolia Manor, where Union generals dined. The following story is from the B&B's website:

"It has been told by the Miller Family that during one meal, Mrs. Miller was seated with Generals Sherman and Grant. General Sherman made the comment that he believed "all southern men, woman and children should be exterminated!" General Grant did not hear this comment, but Mrs. Miller did! She was so upset by the remark that she left the table and went to the back porch to cry. General Grant followed her to see what was wrong. Mrs. Miller told General Grant what Sherman said to her. Grant ordered Sherman to apologize to their hostess at once! Sherman did apologize, but was so humiliated by the order he stormed up to his room! As he approached this staircase, he drew his sword from its scabbard and slashed the banister with it. The mark is still visible to this day!"

Just past Magnolia Manor. There's something so clean-looking about a freshly-painted white house, isn't there?

Isn't it a HUGE porch to have so little "visible means of support?"

Back to the right side of the street. Remember the house with the antiques yard sale in the front yard (from Antebellum Estate Sale)?

I complimented a lady sitting well back on the shady front porch, telling her she was clever to have found a cool spot on such a warm afternoon. She smiled and responded, "Well, I've learned a FEW things in these 93 years on earth!"

When a different woman tried to calm two children, who were running and playing among the items for sale, I offered that they certainly seemed to have a lot of energy. The lady on the porch said "Yes, and you can't KILL them these days." Her friend offered, "You USED to could, but not anymore."

Just past the house with the sale is this beauty. Do you suppose a gardening enthusiast lives here?

Another view of the colorful front yard.

Looking toward downtown, it's obvious how near these houses are to the court square. See the tower of the courthouse? It's above the Big Star supermarket's red sign.

Pink anyone?
Another look at the neatly-painted house with the little "tower" feature.

I mentioned in Part 2 that I chatted with the Magnolia Manor owner, who was sitting on her front porch. These folks were also relaxing on theirs. They saw my camera, and the gentleman offered to pose. Much to the ladies' combined chagrin and amusement, he assumed a "Rockette" pose. Too bad I didn't capture that image before he lowered his arms (and leg!)!

That ended the North Main tour.

Below is a house near "The Columns." Some would be horrified that the owners are having vinyl siding installed. It wouldn't have been my choice, but at least the house is still standing. Perhaps a future owner will fully restore the home to its original condition.

On the right, approaching McNeal Place (that we visited yesterday) is the "Wren's Nest."

A second look:

Around the corner from "The Pillars" is this lovely yellow Victorian. It was moved from a location where it faced demolition. That explains the immature landscaping and the "door to nowhere" on the side of the house. If you look closely, you'll see the homeowner planting something that will eventually shield the heating & air unit from view.

The fact that this house was saved demonstrates the strong commitment of the citizens of Bolivar to historic preservation. Yes, I know ... some would say it should have remained in its original location. As with the siding issue, I say ... at least the house survives for the benefit of future generations!

So which house is your favorite?

The next stop on the tour will be points of interest in the historic court square area.

Hope to see you there!


  1. I was once again wondering about the lack of flowers in the the yards but then finally saw the one yard with color. Is it just too hot there in the summer?
    When I picture these homes in my head I see them with large perennial gardens spilling through the fences.
    More, more, more please.

  2. Another great home tour...and the folks there sound so friendly! I hate to see vinyl siding place on an historic home. Hisssss!
    The one that was moved could be a showplace with the right landscaping. I admire them for saving it!

  3. What a wonderful tour Bill. These homes are magnificent and such an important piece of history. How wonderful if they could all be lovingly kept to their old glory. You would think that a historical designation might prevent changes that really ruin the beauty of these buildings. I really appreciated the great photos and your knowledge of Bolivar.

  4. I love these old houses!! Years agom I owned one in Columbus, Georgia. Not as grand but it was plenty large. I had room for all of my things and MORE! But the kids grew up and moved out and I thought it was too big for me, I could kick myself now!!
    The history, the ambiance, the mystery!! I especially love a big ole porch!!
    These neighborhoods look so inviting, rambuncious kids and all!! Thank you for showing us Bill!!

  5. What a wonderful tour you took us on~ Gorgeous homes, all of them. I love that gingerbread trim and that fabulous craftsman. Cindy

  6. Thanks again for another great tour of a small southern town. So many pretty, well kept old homes. Wasn't Bolivar known for a mental institution/hospital back many years ago - or am I confusing it with another place?

  7. Oh pooh! I missed a day. I'll have to come back after I look at the previous tour. That's what I get for being sick!!!

  8. Bill,
    Thanks again for the tour. Don't you wish these old places could talk and tell us all the wonderful and maybe not so wonderful things they have seen. I sometimes sit and look at my antiques thinking that same thing.

  9. Hi Bill,

    What an amazing town Bolivar is and I enjoyed the tour around these lovely streets.
    My favourite was the Gingerbread trim house, I could move into there tomorrow it is so quaint.
    Also the yellow Victorian home will be wonderful when renovated and finished. Thank you for sharing your walk with us.


  10. I am so impressed with the restorations being done to these grande dames. (except for that vinyl siding) Even the little black signs with the names in white lettering are charming.

    Thank you again for an interesting guided tour, Bill.

  11. Great tour! I am from the west coast and now Colorado and we just don't have as many of the great homes as you do in the South. Loved the comments from the 93 yo and her friend; cracked me up!

  12. Well, it's hard to decide, but the restored Craftsman would be my fav along with the house with the gardening enthusiast.....great tour...looking forward to more.

  13. The last house is my favorite because it has property and speaks to the restorer in my bones. Even these more modest homes are lovely Bill. It appears to be a wonderful community.

  14. My favorites are all the ones with big front porches. That is usually my measure of a whole house. The front porch!

  15. Being from the South, I deeply suspect this "tour" represents only a tiny bit of that town. Your shallow presentation is just that. Your followers just may fall in that same category.

  16. I love the pictures of the houses! I have always dreamed of owning a home like that. Maybe someday I will. I love your blog. Hope you are having a fantastic Wednesday!

  17. Thanks for such a wonderful tour, Bill! I love driving around looking at houses! My favorite was the last home shown, the yellow Victorian, which had been moved. I also loved all the homes with the lacy gingerbread trim! Hope you're feeling better this weekend! Patti

  18. Thankfully, some of the small-town charm left!

  19. love old houses, very nice pictures