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Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Noelton, likely built in the early 1850s on Granny White Pike, was bought by Oscar Fitzallen Noel (1821-1914) and Sarah “Sallie” Catharine Gardner Noel (1828-1884) by 1871. They married in 1847.

The Noels started an estate off the Middle Franklin Pike (Granny White Pike), and by the start of the Civil War, it had grown to 1,500 acres. A good part of the Battle of Nashville was fought on their property. They moved from downtown on North Summer Street. In 1880, they bought the 190 acre property across the street owned by the Gale family.

Noel was in the flour and grain business and built the first grain elevator south of the Ohio River. He opened the Cumberland Milling Co. In 1880, he was a founder and officer of the Fourth and First National Bank and helped organize the Union Stockyards. In 1883, he became president and general manager of Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company with neighbor and friend, James E. Caldwell. After Sarah died, Noel wed his second wife, Mary Ella Stokes Noel (1851-1895) in 1894. After Mary Ella passed, Noel married his third wife, Sally Tenison Noel (1853-1925) in 1903.

After Noel died, his grandsons became executors of the estate. In 1930, grandson Oscar French “Hoss” Noel (1884-1945) and Jeanette Tillotson Acklen Noel (1891-1984) lived at Noelton. Hoss’ parents were Edwin T. Noel (1848-1902) and Mary “May” Smith French Noel (1857-1937). He was a surgeon.

By 1939, one of Oscar’s brothers, John Hopkins Noel, Sr. (1888-1939) had died, and his wife Frances Boensh Noel (1896-1982) married a member of the Craig family and bought Noelton from the estate. When Oscar’s grandson, John Noel, Jr., returned to Nashville from military service, he declined to buy Noelton, but did co-own the Noel Hotel at 200 Fourth Ave. North (built in 1929).

Frances sold Noelton with its remaining 6 acres to J.E. Crain, a developer, in 1949. The house was demolished for the Stephen Foster apartment development at 3401 Granny White Pike. Oscar and Sarah named their home Noelton. Noelton Ave. is a reminder of the property.


Nashville Pikes, Vol 1, pp. 292-295

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