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Monthaven/ Leonard B. Fite House/ Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center

Updated: Jun 14

1017 Antebellum Circle Hendersonville, TN (former 1154 West Main St./ Highway 31 East)

Circa 1790s. Original brick/ remodeled 2-story white plank home

Photo by RobertlYoung


The current Monthaven arts & cultural Center has a long history with its Hendersonville neighborhood. The Leonard B. Fite House has also been named Liberty Hall and Monts Haven and has stood on the site near Mansker’s Creek since the late 1790s and had several additions made over the years.


Henry Ruyle was deeded 650 acres and began to build the original brick section. Ruyle (1734-1790) and Catherine Celia Claiborne Ruyle (1735-1799) had married in 1754 in Virginia. Ruyle was a native of France. He died before completion of the home, and the property was bought by David Dismukes (1837-1903) and Rebecca Wiliams Donelson Dismukes (1840-1911). Rebecca's father was Gen. Daniel S. and Margaret Branch Donelson. Construction of the section was finished by the early 1800s in Federal style and faced Mansker’s Creek. Importantly, the property included both sides of what is now U.S. Hwy 31E which was the old original stagecoach route and the main route between Nashville and any major destination north. The Dismukes owned the Trousdale-Baskerville home at some point as well.


In 1850, Leonard Beard Fite (1811-1882) bought 306 acres as a country home and the working plantation was in good shape. For most of its life, the property address was 1154 West Main St. Fite had married Amanda Reynolds (1819-1849) in 1840. Fite had moved to Nashville and ran a prosperous retail and wholesale dry goods store in 1834, LB Fite and Company. About the same time, he became a director of the “Bank of Tennessee” and then Union Bank. After Amanda’s death, Fite wed Virginia G.L. Randall (1896-1858) in 1853. Ten years later in 1860, he sold his business and moved his family to the Sumner Co. property. Later he married a third time to Martha Mann Campbell. He lived there until his death. The family had named the property Liberty Hall. About 1932 after daughter Florence Martha Fite McWhorter died, Fite descendants sold property to Mont B. Comer. Comer’s father was Robert Wycliffe (R.W.) Comer who started Washington Manufacturing Co., one of Nashville’s major industries at the time.


Mont Bliss Comer (1887-1953) and Marie Fisher Comer (1894-1985) wed in 1917. Comer used the mansion as a summer home until 1935 when he decided to make it his permanent residence. The property was a working farm in the 1930s/ 1940s. Later Mrs. Comer and her daughter lived there after Comer’s death in 1953. She renamed the property Monts Haven in honor of her deceased husband. In 1982, the house was owned by a trust in the name of R.W. Comer & Sons.


By 1986, Monthaven was sold to a development company which developed most of the property around the home as the Monthaven apartments and subdivision (Monthaven Park Place, Comer Lane, Antebellum Circle) and deeded the home to the city. It is currently utilized by the Hendersonville Arts Council as the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center at 1017 Antebellum Circle and does varied art and nonprofit activities. NRHP 1982 See Trousdale-Baskerville Home, Donelson homes


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