The Pillars

522 S. Washington St, Bolivar, TN



The Pillars home of the John Houston Bills' Family for 140 years, is now a house museum owned

and maintained by the Hardeman County Chapter of the

Association of Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA).

A 501 (c)(3) Non-Profit 

Charitable Organization


APTA's "Special Halloween Tour Event $20 per person"!  APTA's "Special Halloween Tour Event $20 per person"!  APTA's "Special Halloween Tour Event $20 per person" 

The APTA is the oldest statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization in the State of Tennessee and the fourth oldest in the nation.  Since 1951 we have been preserving and maintaining historic sites that play an important role in Tennessee's rich cultural cultural heritage.


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Home Tour Video


Patron Brochure

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Adult Members $25.00

Junior Member $5.00 (18 and under)

Click here for a brochure about becoming a Member!



 The Pillars & The Little Courthouse

Hardeman County APTA

P.O. Box 148

Bolivar, TN 38008




Special Events





Annual Historic Home Tour!

APTA's Historic Home Tour 2015 October 24 and 25. 6:00pm till? Don't be scared... Join us for a "Paranormal Investigation"

at Polk Cemetary/ The Pillars and a guided Tour through the

McNeal Historic District!


The Hardeman Country Music Commission

Announces new season for 2015

“Music on the Square”

Begins May 1st!

Click the picture above for more info!


Help APTA save Grand Junction, TN  Historic Depot!

 Help restore the Depot in Grand Junction, TN

Built in 1922.

Get the latest details on Facebook!

Visit us on Facebook!

Ken Savage's E-mail

Cissye Pierce E-mail

Dianne Mumford's E-mail

Paula Stanley's  E-mail

Click here to visit these

Historic sites in Tennessee restored and maintained by the APTA!


Weddings and Luncheons


APTA Dolls!

Click to find out more about Hardeman County during the Civil War!


New addition to the Little Courthouse  Museum

1910 Bolivar Hotel Registry!


Keep up with the County Journal

Ken writes a weekly historical article!

Click here to join us on Face Book!

New officers elected for Hardeman County Chapter.


APTA Historic Marker awarded to The Pillars

Local house museum, The Pillars, was honored by the placement of a historic marker from the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA). State President Bob Notestine presented the hand wrought iron marker to the officers and members of the local chapter at The Pillars.
The marker program identifies historic structures and promotes interest in the sites within the local community as well as within the State of Tennessee. The major emphasis is on preserving significant historic structures and providing the public with information on the role of the structure in the history of the area.illars was the long time home of early Bolivar settler John Houston Bills and his descendents. The Pillars has many "firsts" since it was built in 1828. It was the first brick residence in Bolivar, has the first indoor bathroom, and the first free lending library. It is one of a very few house museums with most of the original furnishings and family artifacts. The Pillars is open to the public during the Spring Home Tour and by appointment for groups. It is also available for party rentals. See
Shown attending the Marker presentation: State President Bob Notestine, Peggy Hines Mask, Margie Schultz, Paula Stanley, and Ken Savage.



Tours for The Pillars and Little Courthouse

School groups during the week by appointment

Group tours for 10 or more by appointment.

 Ken Savage at


Email Us!

Ken Savage's E-mail

Cissye Pierce E-mail

Dianne Mumford's E-mail

Paula Stanley's  E-mail

Weddings and Luncheons

Past Events

Hardeman County


Hardeman County TN Genealogy

TN Society Daughters of the American RevolutionAssociation for the Presrvation of TN Antiquities

To donate to the Pillars and the Little Courthouse.

Please click below!

To Schedule Special Tours

or for more information


 Ken Savage:


Ken Savage's E-mail

Cissye Pierce E-mail

Dianne Mumford's E-mail

Paula Stanley's  E-mail


Born in Iredell County, North Carolina, John H. Bills was one of the founders of Bolivar, in Hardeman County, and a leader of the Tennessee Democratic Party in the nineteenth century. He came to the West Tennessee area in 1818 with members of the family of James K. Polk. In 1823 Bills married Prudence Polk McNeal, a cousin of the future president. Bills also began a cotton factoring company with her brother, Ezekial McNeal, which they called Bills and McNeal, and acquired two plantations, one near Bolivar and the other in Mississippi.

Bills was one of the first commissioners for the new town of Bolivar in 1824, and with his brother-in-law, one of the leading industrialists and planters in West Tennessee. He purchased his home, known as "The Pillars," in 1837, from a Philadelphia newspaperman, John Lea, and traveled throughout the eastern United States to furnish it in appropriate style. The mansion is now a historic house museum administered by the local chapter of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities. Bills entertained several notable Tennesseans and southerners at his home, including Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Sam Houston, Leonidas Polk, and Jefferson Davis. After his wife died in 1840, Bills continued making trips throughout the eastern U.S. and Europe. In 1849 Bills married a widow from Virginia, Lucy Anne Duke.

Union troops burned the town of Bolivar in 1864, destroying the business district, including Bills' cotton plant. Bills, however, proclaimed himself neither Unionist nor secessionist, and thus protected his home and much of his wealth from military reprisals. He continued traveling, entertaining, and aiding in the rebuilding of his business and of Bolivar until his death at home in November 1871. 

Source: Tara Mitchell Mielnik, Tennessee Historical Commission 

Map to The Pillars

Corner of S. Washington St. & Bills St.

Click on the map to get directions from your location!


Directions: From Jackson: take 18 S. to Bolivar. At intersection of 18 S. and Hwy. 64 turn right onto Hwy. 64. Go 1 block to Washington St. Take L. onto Washington. Go to Washington and Bills Sts. - House (Pillars) at curve.

More Links from other home tours


Southern Splendor

Living History Home Tour of the 1860's
Bolivar, Tennessee


  Finding My Way Home
A Collection of Genealogies 1810 – 2003
by Martinette E. Mitchell




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