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Germantown farm named to National Register

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A Germantown treasure is among three Tennessee sites to be named to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Tennessee Historical Commission announced on Monday the addition of Wildwood Farms in Germantown to the National Register. The Commission also announced that Clayborn Temple in downtown Memphis will now be designated as a place of ‘national significance.’

“These additions to the National Register of Historic Places are a testament to Tennessee’s diverse heritage,” said Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer Patrick McIntyre. “The school, store, farm and church are part of our unique past and are worthy of being recognized on this prestigious list. I am especially pleased that Clayborn Temple has received the national recognition it deserves for its place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.”

The most striking historic resource on the 350-acre Wildwood Farms is the 1935 horse barn that is visible from Germantown Road.

The two-story brick stable has Colonial Revival details and contains 18,000 square feet. Landscape architect Paul Mueller and horse trainer Garland Bradshaw worked with Wildwood Farms owner William L. Taylor to build the stable.

Founded in 1935, the farm first trained and bred American Saddlebred horses and in 1959 changed to American Thoroughbred horses.

The principal farm complex also includes a manager’s house and outbuildings, a blacksmith shop/pump house, a laundry, and a laborer’s house. The historic landscape of the property consists of field patterns, pastures, a horse track, roads, and mature trees. Wildwood Farms is now run by Olympic Gold Medalist Melanie Smith Taylor, with Steve Thaemert as barn manager, Johanna Redmond as the head trainer and assistant trainer Lauren Anderson. Taylor has downsized the operation but maintains a nice group of horses for pleasure and for sale.

Other sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places are the Vose School in Alcoa and the Tanner Store in Wartburg.

Clayborn Temple has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Second Presbyterian Church since 1979. Built in 1892, the church was listed for its locally important Romanesque Revival design and community social services.

When the African Methodist Episcopal Church purchased the building in 1949, the church was renamed Clayborn Temple. The updated documentation recognizes the national importance of Clayborn Temple in the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike.

The church was a meeting place and training center for striking workers and supporters of the workers. This key event represents the convergence of the Civil Rights movement, labor movement, and working conditions and pay for African Americans.

“I am a Man” signs were printed here and notable Civil Rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, spoke at the church.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources.