Date: April 18
– 19, 2009
18th: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
19th: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Tickets are $20.00 for ages 12
Sponsored by the Association for the
Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA)
Come enjoy a tour of historic architecture in
Historic Bolivar, Tennessee. The public is
invited to tour these historic homes and
buildings that are noteworthy due to the
fascinating histories and original furnishings
dating back to the early settling of Hardeman
County. Stroll under the ancient shade trees
in these lovely southern neighborhoods from
antebellum homes to Union Cemetery, to the
County Historical Museum.
Visit three 19th Century homes
furnished with original and period antiques.
Returning again on the tour is the Nelms
House, a private residence. Built in the
1970s this large center hall colonial is
filled with outstanding antique furniture and
Also returning to the tour is The Sons and
Daughters of Charity, established in 1873 to
assist African Americans at the end of the
Freedmen’s Bureau and Reconstruction in
Bolivar. Recently placed on the National
Register of Historic Sites, the current
building dates back to 1928 and has many
Saturday, Civil War re-enactors will help you
relive historic events and reminisce about
Tickets may be purchased by mail. Cost
is $20.00 each. Send to APTA, P.O. Box 148,
Bolivar, TN 38008.
(There is a
10% discount for pre-paid groups of 10 or
more, seniors and students 12-18 years old.
12 are free.)
On the days of the tour tickets will be sold
on the grounds of The Pillars (corner of S.
Washington and Bills Sts.)
Paula Stanley e-mail at
376-2153, also Cissye Pierce at (731) 518-7148
Featured on the tour:
The Pillars (circa 1828) The first
brick house in Bolivar evolved over time. It
was the home of the Major John Houston Bills
family from 1837 until 1967. Furnishings are
Empire and Victorian and the home gives a
glimpse of the planter and merchant class of
the 19th century. The original
detached brick kitchen remains and is being
restored. It is now owned by the APTA.
The Columns (circa 1860) Furnished in
the late Victorian Style, this 1860 Greek
Revival home was remodeled in 1909. It
reflects the life of an affluent banking and
merchant family. The extensive grounds
include the oldest boxwood garden in West
Tennessee, an antique rose garden, stable and
children’s play house with nursery rhyme
McNeal Place (circa 1856) This house
was built to help Mrs. Ezekiel Polk McNeal
mourn the death of her only child, Priscilla.
Priscilla’s portrait is in the front parlor.
During the Civil War, Mrs McNeal was given a
special pass to cross the Union lines to visit
The Paul Nelms House (1975) Built by
local businessman Paul Nelms and his wife
Betty, this contemporary colonial mansion
reflect the best of Southern architecture and
antique furnishings. The bricks used were all
handmade using wooden molds. The rear of the
house has two long verandas with beautiful
wrought iron railings.
Magnolia Manor (circa 1849) This
gracious two story brick Georgian style
mansion was built by slaves who made the
bricks in wooden forms on the grounds. The
beautiful furnishings are all period. Four
Union generals billeted at the home where an
altercation occurred between Generals Grant
Union Cemetery (circa 1857) Built on
property donated by leading citizens, this is
the second community cemetery in Bolivar.
Started by the Odd Fellows and the Masonic
Organizations, it contains 6 white CSA stones
to mark the graves on unknown confederate
soldiers. Of note is the large iron watering
trough moved from Court Square in the early 20th
United Sons and Daughters of Charity Lodge
Hall (1928) ‘In the 1870 the Freedmen’s
Bureau and Reconstruction ended so the local
freed slaves banded together to form an
organization “to aid and assist each other,
attend the sick, bury the dead, and advance
the standard of our race and people.” This
second lodge hall replaced the 1909 building
Presbyterian Church (circa 1853) This
oldest brick church structure in town contains
original interior shutters and gothic
furniture. The massive 1850s pipe organ was
added in the 1800s. Destroyed by a falling
wall in the 1980s the organ was renamed
Lazarus” when it was restored and is still
being played. Union and Confederate soldiers
worshiped here during the War Between the
The Little Courthouse Museum (1824) Now
the county historical museum administered by
APTA, it was used for 2 years as the first
county courthouse, this two-story log building
was moved two blocks and became the nucleus
for a residence in 1827. Enlarged and covered
with weatherboard, the log portion was
preserved. See the Antique Chair Exhibit
during Bolivar Historic Home Tour.
Bankheads Battery Civil War Group on
the grounds of The Pillars, this group from
Corinth Mississippi will be in authentic
clothing and gear to share their knowledge of
If you have
additional questions contact Paula Stanley,
Hope to see you at the tour.
The Pillars ©
- The first brick home in Bolivar, it began as a modest Federal
Style home. In 1838 Major John Houston Bills purchased it, enlarged
it to the present size and he and his descendents lived there until
the death of his granddaughter Clara Bills in 1967. The house is
resplendent with family furniture, paintings, nick-nacs, books,
clothing and true stories from the diaries JH Bills kept from 1843
until his death in 1871. The property contains the old 2-story
kitchen and a gothic cottage with a Civil War origin.
The Columns ©
- Owned and operated by the private Bolivar Historical and Community
Foundation, The Columns is beautifully restored to the time of the
Ingram family (1909 – 1995s). It has charming restored formal
grounds. Downstairs are two parlors (one a sitting room, one a music
room) with gracious Victorian furniture. The dining room and
breakfast room feature family silver. The home and grounds are
frequent wedding and photo sites.
The Magnolia Manor ©
is a classic two story Georgian Colonial
designs. Each brick was hand made and sun
dried on the home site by slaves. It features
fourteen foot ceilings and thirteen inch thick
walls from the ground to the roof. There are
four bedrooms in the main house and nine
fireplaces. Two of the bedrooms are master
suites, two full baths and two half baths. The
house also features double parlors.
McNeal Place ©
– McNeal Place was built due to the death of the only daughter of
the original owner, Ezekiel K. Polk. Mrs. (Ann) Polk was
inconsolable at the death of Priscilla who was in her teens in 1854.
Polk built the home on the west side of his property near Polk
Cemetery where Priscilla was buried. Ann visited the grave each day.
During the Civil War she had to have a special pass to cross the
The home is unique
in that it was not designed by a local architect or built locally. It is
believed the architect was Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia and the lumber
was precut and barged from Cincinnati. The shipping stencils are still
evident on the back porch latticework and the cook’s quarters mantle.
Some of the features and materials used are imported from Europe. The
entry hall dry-wall frescoes, the marble and granite, and graining on
the interior woodwork were by craftsmen unknown in West Tennessee homes
of the time. Furnishings and paintings are original to the McNeal family
and their heirs the Hills and McDonnells. Many of the outbuildings and
much of the landscaping remain.
The Little Courthouse
1824-The 1824 log courthouse became the nucleus of a home for the Levi Joy family. Next, Judge Barry purchased the log building house. In 1849 his widow sold the house to Dr. Thomas E. Moore. He made extensive additions including painted weatherboard siding, shutters and additional rooms. His family resided in the house for over 100 years. The descendants of his granddaughter, Miss Jennie Hardaway, sold the house to the county in 1967.
For more information
Cissye Pierce: 731-764-6243
have additional questions contact Paula
Stanley, (731) 376-2153
February 08, 2012
contact Webmaster: Barbara Chambers-Hensleye-mail