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BMA votes to repair historic cabin’s roof


H&T Correspondent

At their Monday night meeting, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution to commit funds to re-roof the Christopher Taylor House, which is located on W. Main Street.

The historic log house, which belongs to the town, was built in the 1770s and, according to the resolution, represents one of the few remaining examples of saddle-notch log house construction in Tennessee. However, a failing roof is putting the structure at risk.

Before the resolution was approved, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe addressed the Board, encouraging them to consider the benefits the Christopher Taylor House brings to Jonesborough and asking them to look favorably on the proposal.

“That cabin attracts an inordinate amount of attention,” Wolfe said. “It amazes me how fascinated people are with that cabin.”

The house is named for Christopher Taylor, the Revolutionary War officer who lived in the two-story log home with his wife and 10 children. Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of United States, also lived in the house for a short time as a boarder.

“This is an asset that we’ve got that’s been somewhat neglected,” he said, urging the Board to look at the house’s potential.

“When I got started on the Board, one of the big things was the state of repairs for the old Jonesborough cemetery, and it was pretty bad,” Wolfe said. “Downed trees that hadn’t been moved in years, headstones that had fallen over and broken. A major state of disrepair.”

The Board and other groups worked together to revitalize the cemetery, he said.

“We got together with other interested groups and made that an attraction,” Wolfe said, “and honest-to-goodness, there are cemetery tours, there are plays that are based on the headstones now. There are dinners. I’ve been to them.”

Now it’s time for the cabin, Wolfe said.

The re-roofing job is estimated to cost just over $18,000, but a Daughters of the American Revolution grant program for historic structures may help cover some of the costs. The grant program funds repairs of up to $10,000, but works on a 50% match basis, so 50% of funds must be in place before the grant application. 

The resolution approves the use of $7,000 out of unobligated reserve funds to be used to repair the roof, which will act as the matching funds for the grant application. If the grant application is successful, the project would receive an additional $7,000, and with $5000 already set aside for the roof repairs, the funds would be in place to complete the project.

“This is something we can accomplish,” Wolfe said.