In July 2021 I did a post on Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN. The campus is small, but very nice. In addition to great looking historic structures, the library there is fantastic. FHU was authorized by the state of Tennessee on November 30, 1869. Classes began two years later in 1871. As noted in that post, FHU struggled a bit in its formative years. For the most part, serious issues came to an end thanks to the work of two individuals: alumnus Nicholas Brodie Hardeman and community member Arvy Freed. Through their work to create what they called the National Teachers Normal and Business College in 1907 the institution stayed afloat. They bought the land at the corner of Main and Cason Street where FHU remains. The college would later be named in their honor as Freed-Hardeman College in 1919; it was changed to the current Freed-Hardeman University in 1990.
A few days ago, reader Alice Brown posted that she had a photo of the Pratt, O'Neal, and Hardeman houses on Cason Street taken some time in the 1900’s. You may recall that there are two older homes at FHU Cason Street that have been converted to university spaces. The Thomas-Landon House is on Cason Street near the library. The Joy Simon McDaniel House which has the dean’s office for the Honor’s College and other administrative offices is nearby. I wrote to Alice about the photo, and she sent me a copy to share here. She writes:
“Attached is the best photo I have. I am not absolutely certain whose house is whose, so I wouldn't post that initially. I think the left one is the Pratt house, middle Hardeman, and right O'Neal. The middle house has since then been demolished. I have a photo circa 1912 of O'Neal children with a pony in front of the house on the right (from looking at porch banisters and window frames). You will notice from my photo that the central porch extension with double height columns on the right house has been removed. Maybe some historian at Freed Hardeman or Henderson might be able to correct me if I am mistaken.
You can see the families on Cason St in the 1910 census (and before and after partially). They were all merchants, but I think did banking on the side. The census didn't have the street address, just the sequence of families surveyed.”
This is wonderful information, and the photo is fantastic! I truly appreciate the information and for her sharing the photo (all rights reserved to Alice).
If you find yourself in Henderson, swing by the campus and take a stroll. While you are at it, take in the sights of the quaint town. The people there are kind and welcoming.
University Grounds is a blog about college and university campuses, their buildings and grounds, and the people who live and work on them.
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