Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Drive up to history's front door

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Motoring around the former Castle Heights Military Academy campus, Jackson Bond and Dalila Cantrell have the option of using a new brochure or a mobile website,, to glean historical details about the 1912 Rutherford B. Parks Library. The brochure and website feature the 28 sites that make up the Lebanon and Wilson County Historic Driving Tour. KEN BECK / The Wilson Post
John Cloyd House in Old Hickory
The Hale House/Patterson Hotel in Watertown
Chandler Stone Wall in Mt. Juliet
Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad Depot in Lebanon
Cover of the Historic Lebanon Driving Tour pamphlet.
Map of the locations on the tour.

Be watching any day for a batch of 12-by-18-inch signs bearing big green dots to begin popping up in Lebanon, Mt, Juliet and other places around Wilson County.

Once they're up, well, if you dig local history, then it's ready, get set, go time!

Historic Lebanon recently completed its countywide historic driving tour, which features 28 sites, and has a color brochure and a mobile website ( to act as your tour guide. They each have locations, photographs and a map.

The mobile website, says Kim Parks, who designed the Lebanon and Wilson County Historic Driving Tour, "has all the sites with images and is interactive. There is bonus audio material and bonus historical photos with many of the Lebanon sites."

Befriend Historic Lebanon

The annual Friends of Historic Lebanon Membership Dinner takes place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, at First Presbyterian Church, 304 West Main St. Guest speaker will be Nancy Williams, director of the Tennessee Main Street program. Cost is $25 and includes dinner and membership. For more info, contact, Kim Parks at 615-547-9795 or email Tickets also are available at the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce or on the website

Parks, executive director of Historic Lebanon, began work on the project a year and a half ago.

"Leadership Wilson and the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce had done the walking tour in the late 1990s. It just centered on Lebanon. I took that and expanded out into the county," said Parks.

"This promotes heritage tourism to locals as well as to people from out of the area. It makes for a good day trip."

(If you elect to hit every spot on the map in one shot, it is doable in three to four hours.)

She noted that 19 of the 28 sites on the tour are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The driving tour will have you cruising to historic districts and neighborhoods, houses, cemeteries, churches, schools and monuments and even along a 110-year-old magnificent piece of engineering, the 985-foot-long Chandler Stone Wall.

Besides the most famous places and structures in the county, the tour hits a few places that folks often miss such as the Harry Bailey House, aka the Bottle House, and Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area. The latter is one of several places on the tour where you can hop out of the car and hike into history.

Technology a driving factor for driving tour

As for the mobile site component tied to the driving tours, Parks believes this is a first for Middle Tennessee.

"What I like about the mobile site, if you see one of the signs, it's got the address and you can pull up the tool right there and get the information or see what it's all about," she says.

Parks recommends motorists begin their county-wide tour in Lebanon, then proceed to Watertown and finally head for Mt. Juliet via Central Pike.

The colorful, 24-page brochures, with a map as the centerfold, are available at the Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce offices.

"What Historic Lebanon likes to do is make history accessible by using new technology, and I think the mobile site component of this does that," said Parks, who is hoping Wilson Countians are eager to do a little time traveling.

Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at

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Hermitage, Historic Lebanon, history, Ken Beck, Kim Parks, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, tour, Watertown, Wilson County
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