Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Milligan’s First Lady renovates historic Taylor House

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, TN (Sept. 17, 2001)—It is easy to find the first lady of Milligan College this fall. Clarinda Jeanes is hard at work on an extensive renovation of the historic Taylor House on Milligan’s campus. She plans to convert the house into a hospitality and reception house, where all proceeds would help fund student scholarships.

The original house, located behind Milligan’s campus, is an historic landmark dating back to the late 1700s. Two prominent families in Northeast Tennessee history – the Williams and Taylor families – are part of the unique history of the house and the college.

It was Josh Williams, owner of the house from 1838 to 1880, who provided the land for what was to become Milligan College. Ownership later passed to former Tennessee governor Alf Taylor, who is most famous for his 1886 “Tennessee War of the Roses” campaign for governor against his brother, Robert Taylor. Alf’s son, Robert Love Taylor – a Milligan alumnus, trustee and Federal District Judge – later owned the home.

After Robert Love Taylor’s death in 1989, the college purchased the home and has used it as a residence for campus personnel and students. In recognition of the historical significance of the home, Milligan alumnus Clint Holloway nominated the Williams-Taylor House as a Tennessee Historic Site in 2000. It now has an official place in Tennessee history.

Today, however, the house is in vast need of repair. A professional inspection revealed that the house needs extensive exterior and interior work. Exterior renovations will be made to the wrap-around porch, chimneys, roof, doors and windows. Interior renovations include painting, flooring, re-wiring the entire house, and updating the kitchen and baths. Renovations began in July 2001 and will continue through next summer.

“We are having to redo the whole house without tearing it down,” said Jeanes, who is overseeing the renovation project with Frank Jarrett, a retired contractor from Johnson City, Tenn. Numerous volunteers, church groups, alumni and friends of the college are working daily to refurbish the historic home.

So why has Milligan’s First Lady taken on such a challenging project? It is all part of a “concept and vision” she has. Last year, Jeanes visited a sister college, David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., that has a hospitality house run by their women’s organization, Associated Ladies of Lipsomb. The members of the organization offer their time and services to cater and host receptions at the house. All proceeds generated help fund the college’s scholarship program.

“I thought this was a great concept and wanted to do something similar at Milligan with a hospitality house and ladies’ organization,” said Jeanes. “The fact that we had a historical house on campus was perfect and it also allows us to preserve a piece of history.”

To learn more about the Taylor House Renovation Project or to request more information, please contact Clarinda Jeanes, Taylor House Project / Milligan College, P.O. Box 1, Milligan College, TN 37682 or call 423-434-2402.

Posted by on September 17, 2001.