Written by Dallas Hansbury, PhD graduate assistant
Many individuals and institutions in the Southeastern United States working in or interested by Historic Preservation probably have come into contact with or heard about Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Center for Historic Preservation (CHP). Founded in 1984, the CHP involves itself in numerous historic preservation undertakings, including the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area program, the Tennessee Century Farm project, and the Trail of Years initiative. These activities represent only a segment of the CHP’s ongoing projects. For more information on the CHP and its endeavors, visit its website.
While the CHP has and continues to make substantial contributions to historic preservation in the southeastern United States, other entities possessing ties to Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee; and Middle Tennessee, including former U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon, MTSU history professor emeritus Dr. Lorne McWatters, the Oaklands Association (The Oaklands Historic House Museum’s governing body), and MTSU education professor emeritus Dr. Homer Pittard, have all in some way participated or documented historic preservation efforts in Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee.
Fortunately for those interested in historic preservation, as well as local and regional history, the Albert Gore Research Center (AGRC), located on MTSU’s campus, holds and makes available to patrons the Bart Gordon Papers, the Homer and Mabel Pittard Papers, some CHP materials, history documentaries created by Dr. McWatters’ students, and other collections documenting historic preservation’s history in Murfreesboro. These collections include a wide variety of records, including handbooks many communities published in the early twentieth century to advertise themselves to businesses and potential residents, Bart Gordon’s efforts to obtain federal funds to expand Stones River National Battlefield’s boundaries, and many other similar materials. Other records include student-produced history documentaries examining such topics as managing Stones River National Battlefield as a cultural resource, Murfreesboro’s historic district’s history, and balancing historic preservation concerns while addressing a growing community’s needs.