Did you know Telford began as 'Millwood?'

J. H. Osborne • Jul 31, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Today's "Tuesday Trivia" topic: Wassom Farm’s historic design.

On Monday, the Tennessee Historical Commission announced the addition of five properties in the state to the National Register of Historic Places, including a Washington County farmstead.

• "The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee, which is home to nearly 2,200 National Register of Historic Places sites."

• There are more than 40 such sites in Washington County, nearly half of which are in Johnson City.

• There are at least 43 such sites in Sullivan County, at least 20 of which are in Kingsport.

• The Tennessee Historic Commission may submit proposed sites for review three times each year (in January, May and September) and it typically takes two to three months to hear which, if any, are accepted for the National Register designation.

• The local site added to the National Register of Historic Places is the Wassom Farm, 276 Matthews Mill Road, where that road intersects the Norfolk Southern Railroad. It is situated about one mile south of US 11E and about one mile west of the center of  the Telford community. It's about six miles for Jonesborough.

• Completed in May of 1858, the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, as it was called at that time, was the first railroad to traverse northeastern Tennessee.

• There was a Civil War skirmish on or near the property, but the importance of the house is as an example of an early 19th-century farmhouse that retains much of its historic design. The circa 1828 brick, two-story farmhouse is constructed with Flemish bond red brick on the façade and American common bond on the elevations.

• "The main dwelling at Wassom Farm represents a transitional phase in regional building traditions from a three-room house form to the two-story central hall I-House form that became popular for farmhouses in the 19th century."

• "Historically associated with German or Swiss immigrants, three-room house forms have been known by a variety of names, including the Penn Plan, the Quaker Plan, the Continental Plan, or the Flurkuechenhaus."

• "Settlement of the community now called Telford began about 1780. Old State Route 34 runs along the path of what was once a heavily traveled stage road."

• "Prior to 1855 the community was known as Millwood, but in that year Colonel George Whitfield Telford made a donation of about four acres of land to the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad ... As a result of Colonel Telford’s donation, the name was changed to Telford Depot. Sometime after 1876 the word 'Depot' was dropped from the name ..."

Sources: Gray Stothart and Rebecca Schmitt; Tennessee Historical Commission; Claudette Stager.

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