Thanks to the State Of Franklin Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Town of Jonesborough, the Christopher Taylor House has a new roof.
The Christopher Taylor House is one of the most popular attractions in Jonesborough. It figures prominently on Jonesborough’s various tours, photo ops of all varieties, events and the “Storytown” app. When it was relocated from its original location to the center of the historic district, it stood as a symbol of Jonesborough’s preservation efforts.
Unfortunately, years of deferred maintenance have resulted in several issues, but the roof was by far the most dire. Earlier in the year, The Heritage Alliance and the Town of Jonesborough partnered to remove the rotted shake roof and replace it with a temporary membrane, enabling the structure to dry out. This temporary roof also allowed the Heritage Alliance to begin opening the House during the peak visitors’ season and to create unobtrusive interpretive panels to help tell the story of this unique structure.
It also allowed the Alliance to begin a fundraising effort to purchase and install the period appropriate western cedar shakes which now help protect Captain Taylor’s log home. Funding for this project was made possible through a Preservation Grant from the State of Franklin Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). The Town of Jonesborough matched the DAR funding.
Now that the roof is on, The Heritage Alliance is taking on the task of creating a cyclical maintenance plan for the structure. In cooperation with the Town, the Heritage Alliance staff and volunteers will routinely monitor the Christopher Taylor House in order to prevent little issues such as trimming branches away from the roof and keeping vegetation and mulch away from the log foundations to prevent rot.
Executive Director Deborah Montanti is excited to have the Christopher Taylor House back in the mix of heritage offerings. The goal is to restore the structure to its role as a gathering space, inviting the public in to experience the history this building holds, in addition to local crafts, music and storytelling.
“I especially love to talk about the Christopher Taylor House in the context of The Chester Inn next door” says Montanti. “Taken together, these structures represent the evolution of settlement patterns and architecture over a period of time. As artifacts, they provide a structural representation of pioneer building technology along the migration route of the great stage road. In addition, they give insight into the amenities of 18th century travel. Christopher Taylor built his log house along the stage road with what would be considered extra space, offering it to travelers weary from the road. Many pioneer settlers opened their home to strangers as the nation expanded westward. Such helpfulness was beneficial to both traveler and homesteader, whose generosity often resulted in the traveler becoming a new neighbor.”
Montanti noted that, “Even though the Christopher Taylor House has been relocated, its “V”- notch construction still serves as an example of the quick and dirty building techniques that put a roof over our forbearers’ heads. In contrast, The Chester Inn, built two decades later, illustrates a more sophisticated, settled population. Its clean lines and finely sawed lumber are indicative of a town that means to stay and to prosper, rather than move on down the road.”
Gordon Edwards, current president of the Alliance Board of Trustees and Project Director for the Christopher Taylor House Restoration puts it another way, “It is a wonderful artifact on Main Street and we need to take care of it. We appreciate the painstakingly careful work of Jordon Marvin Carpentry who installed the new roof and look forward to interpreting this treasure for many years to come.”
The Heritage Alliance is working with the Town and the State of Franklin Chapter , NSDARto host a rededication ceremony in the Spring of 2019.