Thanks to The News-Examiner for permission to reprint this article!
Note: All spelling, punctuation, and omissions are as they appeared in the article in the newspaper.
On College Street in Gallatin is a small ornate stucco house
thought to have been built by Judge Josephus Conn Guild. The property, originally part of a land
grant to Hogan Grant, was acquired by Guild and it is believed he built the house for use as his
townhouse so he could be near the court.
There is quite a controversy concerning the age of this mysterious cottage. If one quickly glances at the front of the house you might jump to the conclusion that the house was built in the 1850s or 1860s.
The early Victorian ornaments, popular during this time period, can be seen over the windows, along the roofline, and around the front porch. If the house was built before Guild constructed Rosemont on South Water Street, then this type of decorations would probably not have been used.
Therefore, the house was either built in the 1830s or after 1850. A clue to this puzzle might be found in the deed books of Sumner County.
In the 1850s, a Mrs. Turner acquired the property and apparently sold off some of the land to make repairs. Could these repairs have included updating the outside of the house to resemble a more fashionable style? This was a common practice in the years just preceeding the Civil War.
There are some interesting structural oddities to be found in the Stucco House. Starting from the inside, the walls are built of plaster, then a layer of rough mortar and rock. Next there is a wall of solid brick followed by another layer of stucco. Apparently stucco was a relatively common building material in this early section of Gallatin since other houses, now gone, were adorned with the same outer coating.
The rafters are another unusual aspect of the Stucco House structure.
According to Mrs. Frank Shaw, the rafters are held together with one long wooden peg. This one peg goes through all the rafters holding them in place to support the roof. This was an unusual practice indeed and in itself makes the house of structural interest.
There are two massive rooms and a large hall at the front of the house and originally a rear section contained the dining room and possibly a bedroom. Always a relatively small house, the rear section has been altered and reconstructed and the exact floor plan isn't known. Within the house, one finds beautiful woodwork indicating that the house was quite elegant for a small frontier town just budding from Indians days.
Despite the controversy over the age and original appearance of the Stucco House, it is obviously one of the few remaining historic structures to be found in town quickly turning away from the past. Perhaps the Stucco House should have a place of honor in our city since it represents our beginnings and could serve as an enlightment to our future.