Date: April 19 – 20, 2008
Click the button to see picture's of the Home Tour!
A tour of
historic architecture in the Bills McNeal Historic District. The
public is invited to tour these historic homes and sites, 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 this lovely southern neighborhood from
antebellum homes to the gothic Episcopal church to the Polk family
cemetery as you reminisce about by-gone days and relive historic
Pillars (circa 1828) The Columns (circa 1860)
(circa 1862) Polk Cemetery (circa 1845)
Episcopal Church (circa 1870)
plus Maxwell & Bertin House and Garden.
may be purchased at the Hardeman
County Chamber of Commerce, 500 W. Market St. or by mail to APTA,
P.O. Box 148, Bolivar, TN 38008. Cost is $20.00 each, (There is a
10% discount for pre-paid tours of 10 or more.) Children under 12
Saturday April 19th: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday April 20th: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(731) 376-2153, also Cissye Pierce at (731) 764-6243
Sponsored by: The
Hardeman County Chapter of
for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities
We invite you to
come and enjoy the wonderful stories of Bolivar’s heritage, its historic
homes and their legacy. Included on the 2008 Bills Street Home Tour
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 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 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.
Episcopal Church © 1870
- Built in 1870 around the small 1840 wooden church, St. James was
designed and built by Willis and Sloan in the Gothic design. It is
majestic and has beautiful stained glass windows and interiors.
Ingram Hall was built from reclaimed materials from the 1840 church.
– National Historic Register #4C-27 - The land was acquired by James
K. Polk, Jr., and others on October 23, 1845 as a family cemetery
for the descendents of Ezekiel Polk. Colonel Polk, the patriarch of
the Polk family in Tennessee, was the grandfather of President James
Knox Polk. The elder Polk was instrumental in framing the
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and served in the
Revolutionary War. He lived in Maury County before settling in
Hardeman County. "Old E.P." wrote his own quite unique rhyming
epitaph. During his grandson’s bid for president of the United
States, the derogatory religious references were removed. Later they
slaves are buried in a corner of the cemetery and their stories are
listed in the cemetery records.
Bertin House and Garden:
- Built in 1956
and is one of the newer historic homes in Bills-McNeal Historic
District. It is furnished in the traditional manner with
Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton antiques and reproductions.
Interior designs are made by James Stevens of Barrett & Stevens in
Bolivar. The beautiful gardens were designed by Steven
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