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An Original TN Distiller: Arthur Pitt Home & Distillery

Updated: Jan 22

Photo by Wingerham52

The Arthur Pitt House and Distillery sits on Hwy 49/ Orlinda Pike in Springfield. The one story brick house was built by Arthur Pitt (1771-1836) and Mary Kirkland Pitt (1770-1860) about 1798.

Arthur’s son, Wilson Pitt, started the distillery in the early 1800s and directed its commercial success called Pitt Brothers Registered Distillery No. 135. Middle Tennessee and Robertson County were well-known for distilled spirits. Two distilleries were built: one for commercial use (where the State Fish Hatchery exists today) and another nearby for household use. One of their brands was Pitt Brothers Cave Spring Distillery run by Wilson's sons John and Arthur (one of the earliest to open and second to last to close [Nelson’s Distillery - last one] with Prohibition in 1909). By 1856, Wilson also inherited the home and enlarged the structure.

In 1973, Louis R. Draughon (1900-1980) and Katherine Elizabeth Frey Draughon (1903-1994) purchased the Pitt property after they sold their Pennington Bend farmland to NLT which was opening the Opryland theme park on that space. They wed in 1927. Draughon was a prominent business and civic leader in Nashville and Robertson County. He and brother Jack started in the automobile service business with 638 Tire and Vulcanizing Company in Springfield. Then they got involved in the oil business and became a Texaco distributor - Draughon Brothers Oil Company.

He began a 100 watt AM Springfield radio station on the top floor of the 638 building with the call letters WSIX - the oil company motto “Where Service is Excellent.” WSIX started as a limited local station and slowly expanded. It was a pioneer in broadcasting local tobacco auction sales. Eventually it became an important broadcaster of the show out of Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry. He became heavily involved in real estate. Draughon’s farm land was sold to build both the Opryland Hotel and the former Opryland theme park both of which opened about 1972. The Draughons also contributed to the local community through land donation for a library and funds for building construction at Freed-Hardeman University. NRHP 1973

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