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A Second Empire on West 7th: Church House/ Barrow House

Updated: Jun 26

312 West 7th St. Columbia, TN

Circa 1873. 3-story Second Empire style

Photo by Matt Locke

Sims Craig Latta (1840-1934) and Mary Cordelia Hackney Latta (1844-1927) constructed the home at 312 West 7th Street in Columbia. Sims, a former Maury County sheriff, was a prosperous and prominent farmer.  In 1888, the Latta family sold 67 acres of land to the federal government for the establishment of the Columbia Arsenal. The site neighbored Elmwood/ Shadowlaun estate. The arsenal was repurposed a few decades later and renamed Columbia Military Academy which it remains today.

When Sims moved to Buena Vista (Columbia), which was just to the west, he sold the West 7th St. home to Robert C. Church (1797-1869). His two wives were sisters: First, Frances Fitzgerald Church (1798-1845), then Laura Jane Fitzergerald Church (1819-1845)(m.1845). They married in 1815. Church was president of Maury National Bank and a land speculator. The home remained in the family (1893-1979) for nearly a century and was owned by a grandson Robert Church Barrow (1897-1978) and Annie May Orr Barrow (1896-1969) in the 1970s. They wed in 1926. Robert had retired from insurance, real estate and investment businesses. They resided at the property until Barrow’s death in 1978. His daughter, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Barrow Sweeney (1928-2011), inherited the house with husband Samuel P. Sweeney III (1927-1983).

Photo by Matt Locke

From 1979-1985, the home was empty. In 1985, Lloyd A. West, Sr. (1924-2011) and Mattie Elnora Woodard West (1925-2013) purchased the property from their friend Betty Barrow. Mattie was a local artist. Mattie’s parents, John H. and Susie L. Hendrix Woodard, owned Blythewood where she was raised. From the 1960s-early 1970s, Mattie and Lloyd lived with her parents at Blythewood with its 60 acres. She organized the Arts Guild, held an arts festival on the front grounds, and hosted APTA Majestic Middle Tennessee historic home tours. Lloyd was a professional photographer out of Pulaski and then moved to Columbia and opened his own studio, L.A. West Photographic Studios for nearly 3 decades. He was the official photographer for the Maury County Horseman Association.

In 2014, the Locke family (Howard G. “Buck”, Winona McBee and son Matt) purchased the Church-Barrow House and have been completing extensive renovations. NRHP 1978 See Blythewood, Buena Vista


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