Memphis fallout shelter, 7 other Tennessee sites added to historic places register

Hoyt Wooten designed and built the fallout shelter behind his home in 1963. (photo from University of Memphis special collections)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bank, a farm and a fallout shelter are among eight Tennessee sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tennessee Historical Commission said in a news release Thursday that the eight properties have been deemed cultural resources worthy of preservation.

The Wooten Fallout Shelter in Memphis is one of the sites named to the register.

Historians say engineer and radio and founder of WREG-TV Hoyt Wooten designed and built the Cold War-era shelter in the backyard of his 27 acre home.

Built in the early 1960s, the shelter was designed to hold 65 people for a month if a nuclear bomb was dropped near Memphis. Rooms included a kitchen, male and female dormitories, recreation room, bathrooms, radio communication room, and a morgue.

The shelter is part of a gated community and it has been used as a community center.

Hardwick Farms in Cleveland includes a 1930s Spanish revival house. The tobacco and livestock farm was owned by C. L. Hardwick, who supported civic projects. The farm is rented out for raising livestock.

The Charles L. Lawhon Cottage in Knoxville is a mix of bungalow, English Cottage Revival, and Tudor Revival styles. Lawhon, the designer, died in 1926, and the family owned the house until the 1940s. The current owner is rehabilitating the house.

Historians say the Bank of Loretto in Lawrence County was built after the original building burned around 1924. The bank moved to a larger building in 1967, and the building is now used as a restaurant.

Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in Lewisburg was built in 1910 in the Late Gothic Revival style. It is better known today as the Water Street Abbey. The current owners purchased the building in 2007 and plan to rehabilitate it for an event venue.

Also placed on the register was Frierson Chapel in Coopertown. Named after The Rev. R.D. Frierson, the property includes a 1946 church building, the remains of a school, a privy and a cemetery established around 1880.

In Memphis, the Barksdale Mounted Police Station is seen as an example of a municipal police station that housed both police officers and horses. New owners plan to rehabilitate the building using a historic preservation tax credit, preservationists said.

The Jonesborough Historic District in Washington County was first listed on the historic places register in 1969. Jonesborough received a grant to update and revise the original nomination.

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