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Academy Hill reinvented: A look at what’s there now

For several members of the Jonesborough Senior Center, a recent visit to Academy Hill on West Main Street was a trip down memory lane.
The old school site, where Jonesborough children went to get an education from the mid-1800s until the early 1970s, is now home to several Jonesborough families who live in the 13 condos since built inside the building.
The 1926 vintage building is the second structure built on the site – replacing the original 1853 school building.
The tour was led by Carole and Foye Webb, residents of Academy Hill. They, along with four other homeowners, opened their doors to visitors for a peek inside.
After listening to a brief history about the building presented by Foye Webb, the group divided up and toured several of the building’s residences. Each one was as unique as its owners.
The Webbs’ first floor home used to be the school cafeteria. A little more than 2,000 square feet, their condo features 10-foot ceilings, archways and a remodeled kitchen with gleaming white cabinetry and glass tile backsplash.
Carole Webb also showed guests into her craft room, which was filled with well-organized supplies for her many hobbies.
Janet Harris also invited the group into her home, a cozy two-story condo with an upstairs view down into the living room decorated with soft pastel furnishings. Her kitchen, which featured warm oak cabinetry and a parquet floor, was accented with vintage kitchen accessories including a collection of pitchers, creamers and pottery from days gone by.
The home of Richard Cook was also on the tour. The masculine décor featured an extensive collection of original art adorning the walls, along with several mounted trophies from hunting and fishing expeditions. Leather furniture stood out against walls painted a warm, golden color.
Vintage Duncan Phyfe furnishings mixed easily with modern décor in the home of Joe and Kaye Florence. The condo’s 11-foot ceilings topped soft yellow walls, grounded by the deep tones in the hardwood floors.
From the Florences’ front porch, visitors could get a good look at the lovely grounds surrounding Academy Hill. The many plantings on the property were established and maintained by resident Joseph Huffman for nearly 25 years.
Huffman’s home was also on the tour and visitors marveled at his 880-pound grand piano. Several guests asked him how he managed to get the instrument into his living room, since his third-floor condo is accessible only by an exterior stairway.
“It took six men to get it up here,” he said, “but since the top comes off as well as the legs, they were able to just ‘walk’ it up the stairs.
“It only took about 20 minutes until they had it up here in my living room and I was ready to sit down and play.”
Huffman’s condo comprises three old classrooms. The two-bedroom beauty is decorated with elegant antiques and vintage pieces collected from around the world.