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Demolition request submitted for historic Owen-Primm house

Officials hope for 'hero' to save home

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The Brentwood Historic Commission held its regularly scheduled meeting Friday and discussed the possible demolition of one of the area’s most historic homes.

Jerrold Pedigo and Thomas Hopkins purchased the Primm property in July, Pedigo buying approximately 30 acres and Hopkins 15, which are being split into three 5-acre parcels of land. Section A includes the historic Owen-Primm house. 

On Dec. 14, Hopkins submitted a demolition request for the home to the city of Brentwood. Under the city’s municipal code, the applicant must wait 90 days to demolish the structure because it has been deemed historic. 

However, according to Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar, Randy Arnold of Arnold Homes, LLC, the builder on the project, is interested in preserving the home if possible. That means they could need the community’s help.

“At this time, we have roughly 60 days left to find someone else to buy the home to renovate or move the home,” Bednar said. “We can’t stop [demolition], but we can hope for an unknown person interested in doing something for this house.

“Maybe there is a hero out there.” 

Members from the city, along with Jim Thompson of Centric Architect, signed liability waivers on Jan. 8 to view the inside of the Owen-Primm home and assess if the structure could be saved. In a report to the city, Thompson said it would be costly to make the structure livable again.

“Although the interior is filled with a lot of personal items and furniture and therefore the extent of the existing conditions is not fully known, in general, the structure is in deteriorated to good condition,” he said. “Great expense would be required to make the house livable and would likely require significant demolition and rebuilding in the area of the rear wing/ell to meet today’s room size, flow and modern amenities expectations.

“The builder is amenable to having someone move the structure at their cost or he will salvage some of the desirable materials and sell them or try to work them into the new houses he intends to build.  

“This will be an unfortunate loss to the community due to neglect.”

According to city officials, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County reached out as a possible interested party Friday, though details of those conversations were not immediately released.

Commissioner Anne Dunn alerted the Brentwood Historic Commission when the demolition permit was pulled. During the meeting, she made a passionate plea to the community. 

“If we can get word out about the plans to facilitate a discussion of saving this home, I agree with Kirk, a hero or some unknown person would come forward before it is too late,” she said.

Longtime Brentwood residents remember better days for the property, but since dairy farm owner Charlie Primm passed away in 2011, the home has sat empty. The purchase of the land took more than seven years to close. 

The Owen-Primm log cabin, the original home on the property, was built in 1806 by Jabez Owen. In 1845, Thomas Perkins Primm erected the antebellum addition that currently sits on the property, designed in a Greek Revival style of architecture. Victorian details were later added, and in 1920, the final room on the rear wing was constructed.

The Montclair neighborhood; Primm Park, including Boiling Springs Academy; and the ancient Indian mounds from the Mississippian era were all originally part of the Primm family’s land. They were one of the founding families in what is now called Brentwood. 

“The Owen-Primm home has been on the National Historic Registry since 1988, and it would be devastating to lose this important piece of history,” Sherry Hammond, chair of the Brentwood Historic Commission, said Friday. “It is my hope that someone will purchase this property to restore this historic home to its former glory.”

To view information about the property, visit

Inquiries to purchase the land to save the home can be sent to Arnold Homes, LLC at

For more about saving the home, contact

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