Douglass-Clark House in Gallatin Now Open to the Public

August 30, 2015

Sumner County is proud to announce its newest historic home, the Douglass-Clark House, is now open to the public! Wait, newest historic house? That doesn’t seem right! How can an historic house be new? Let us explain!

Many residents may have noticed the changes to a house that sits next to the trailhead for the Station Camp Greenway on Long Hollow Pike. The house, which many may have recognized as the red-and-white house next to Station Camp Creek, was the long-time home of the Knight family until 2006. In 2007, Sumner County purchased the property with the hope that the property could be transformed to look as it did in the past. Unbeknownst to many modern Sumner County residents, the Douglass-Clark House represented the rich history of Sumner County dating all the way back to the county’s creation and Sumner County administrators wanted to preserve the home and its story for future generations to enjoy.

Douglass-Clark House, pre-restoration in the late 2000s.

In 1786, the same year Sumner County was created from Davidson County, Elmore Douglass purchased the property and had his four-room log home built on the banks of Station Camp Creek. Sumner County was booming and with growth came the need for regulations. Sumner County did not yet have a courthouse, so court proceedings were held in residents’ homes; the home of Elmore Douglass was selected to serve as the county’s courthouse between 1788-1790. An active participant in these court proceedings included Attorney General Andrew Jackson, who had obtained his license to practice law in Sumner County in January 1789.

Later the home was transferred to Elmore’s niece, Emma, and her husband, William F. S. Clark. The Clarks occupied the home perhaps as early as the 1830s, and as their family grew, they decided to build an addition to the home. Sometime between 1840-1850, four additional rooms were added to the log home, doubling the house’s size, and the exterior was completed with new clapboard siding that gave the home a cohesive, pleasing look.

William and Emma Clark ultimately grew their family to include ten children. Tragically, William died in 1847 at the young age of 41 years old, leaving Emma to rear her family alone as a widow. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, four of Emma’s sons enlisted for the Confederate cause. By the war’s end, only one son, Charles, had survived war’s ravages and he returned home to Sumner County where he lived out the rest of his life.  Emma lived in the home until her death in 1881 and in her will she bequeathed the house to her daughter, Ellen (Clark) Brown. Ellen died in 1928, and she left the house to her nephew and Emma’s grandson, Roland Dorris, son of Henry and Sophia (Clark) Dorris.

By 1963, the home saw new tenants, Kenneth and Mildred Knight, who made their lives together in the Douglass-Clark House. The house also underwent many changes to modernize the home as time passed. The Knights lived in the home until 2006.

Beginning in 2007, Sumner County undertook a huge task to renovate the home and restore it to look as it did between 1786 and the mid-1800s. After years of planning, fundraising, grant-writing, demolition, and construction, the Douglass-Clark House renovation was completed in mid-2014. A Sumner County Commission meeting was held at the Douglass-Clark House on July 21, 2014, to commemorate the courthouse proceedings that had taken place in the home 226 years earlier. Reenactors graciously set the mood for everyone to enjoy a late eighteenth century court hearing.

Reenactors at the July, 2014 Sumner County Commission Meeting.

The Douglass-Clark House is now open for tours in one of Sumner County’s newest yet oldest historic sites. Hours are Tuesday-Saturdays, 9:00am-5:30pm, and is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays. Admission is free, so come out and enjoy! The Douglass-Clark House is located at 2115 Long Hollow Pike in Gallatin and is next to the Station Camp Greenway trailhead where parking is available.

The Douglass-Clark House, post-restoration, in 2015.

Feel free to contact the Douglass-Clark House either by calling 615-991-5119 or emailing taryn@visitsumnertn.com. We hope to see you soon!