My great-great grandparent’s blue house in Nashville, TN
Built in 1899, my maternal great-great grandparent’s house is still standing proudly on Park Avenue in Nashville. They were most likely the first or second owners and were living in the Victorian style house at the time of the 1910 census and also the 1920 census. It seems that the 1900 census does not include an address…as far as I can tell. I knew that this house existed. I did not think that it still existed. I have a framed picture of my family members standing on the porch, on the steps, and in the yard…the picture was taken in the early 1900s.
I remember seeing the picture when I was growing up, but my mother never hung it on the wall. When my husband and I were cleaning out my parent’s house in 1985, I was very excited to find the picture in a closet. I love to look at the clothes that the women and girls are wearing. To me… the picture is a treasured keepsake of yesteryear and I like to think about the stories that the house could tell!
I believe that I have figured out why my mother never hung the picture in my childhood home. She lived in the house with her parents, her brother and her sister plus her great-grandparents for several years beginning when she was about 10 years old or so. Her mother became very ill and I assume that they moved in with relatives so that others could help take care of my grandmother and also take care of the children.
My grandmother died on my mother’s 11th birthday. It was always a very sad memory for my mother and I truly imagine that she did not want a reminder of the house hanging on our wall. My grandfather remarried a few years later and my mother was close to her stepmother… my grandmother…my much loved Katie from Ireland! I never knew that my mother actually lived for a few years in the house. I did know that she loved the house and thought it was so very pretty. She particularly liked the staircase and she liked the porches! That is all that she ever told me.
The entry hall staircase in the blue house in Nashville, TN.
I found out most of the information about the house a few years ago when I began continuously working on our family tree through Ancestry.com. I have honestly become totally enthralled with trying to figure out the ins and outs of our family history. I am working on my maternal and paternal families as well as my husband’s family. I could not just make it simple and work on one tree at a time. Oh no…I made it just as difficult a project as possible! Very typical of me! I need a gigantic mess to work with…I suppose that is why I liked the newspaper business and teaching elementary school so much!
Another bit of information that I always knew was that my great-great grandfather immigrated in 1852 from Oldham, Lancashire, England. He was 20 years old or so and his older brother also came with him. I believe that they left from Liverpool, but I am not sure what port they came to in the United States. I do know that they came directly to Nashville upon arrival. I wonder why they came all the way to Nashville! Did they know someone already living there?I am working on figuring all of that out! We have already visited the particularly wonderful Tennessee Historical Archives in Nashville and are planning to go back in the early summer. I know now most of the information that I think I really need to put the puzzle together about my mother’s family background!
I have completed more research on my mother’s side of the because of the unusual last name of her family. Their last name was Wolfenden and I thought…EASY! Just how many people could possibly have that name! WRONG! I have since found out that the name Wolfenden might be quite a popular last name in that part of England. Tell me it is not true!!! However, I imagine that I am somehow related to all of those Wolfenden people!!
I hope in the near future…to travel to Oldham, Lancashire, England. I have researched enough to know several addresses where they lived…both of my great-great-great grandparent’s first names…the church where the children were baptized…even my great-great-great grandfather’s occupation. Fascinating!
What spurred me on was when I happened to find out the address of the pictured blue house where my great-great grandparents lived. I believe that I actually first found the address on the 1910 census report. I immediately googled the address. I was totally shocked to see the picture pop up on a real estate website. I recognized the house from the old picture that I have. I have no idea if it was painted blue when it was first built. I like to think that it was blue.
Anyway…the house had been divided (sometime in the last few decades) into four very neat apartments and two were for lease. I scrolled down through the pictures of the inside of the house. There was a picture of the pretty staircase that my mother liked! There was a picture of the downstairs porch and the upstairs porch. Best of all…the realty company somehow included a copy of the very picture that I have framed…of my family in the early 1900s! I have no idea where they got the picture…maybe it was handed down from owner to owner.
My ancestors photographed in the early 1900s at the blue house in Nashville, TN.
Because I am totally curious, I have kept up with the house for the last couple of years…as if I am the realtor…just silly, I know! The entire house (keeping it as a four apartment house) was put up for sale this past Spring, 2016. I would have loved to own the house, but the asking price was right at $500,000! No way! The house is near to Centennial Park and not too far away from Vanderbilt University. Evidently, some other older houses are being restored in a nearby area.
My great-great grandparent’s blue house on Park Avenue has a new owner. I imagine that there have been many owners for the last 118 years. I hope that there are many stories to tell, that there were many children laughing and playing and many family dinners to enjoy.
Most of all I like to think about a 20 year old immigrant from England who put his whole heart into working diligently to provide a home for his family. I like to think about the blue house with the white picket fence on Park Avenue in Nashville, TN …still proudly standing…my heritage!