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  • Jay Brothers

Oak Hall/ Century Oak: Ties with City Hotel, Commerce Union Bank & Jackalope Brewing!

Updated: Jan 11

Photo by Skye Marthaler

Oak Hall / Century Oak sits at 1704 Wilson Pike just north of Ravenswood. James H. Wilson II built the 2 story red brick home in 1845 for his son Samuel S. Wilson when Samuel (1823-1851) married Lucy Ann Marshall (1829-1871).

Lucy was the daughter of Joseph H. and Frances Marshall of the old City Hotel in Nashville. The house was originally 3 stories, but a tornado in 1920 struck the house and destroyed that 3rd floor. Samuel managed his father’s tremendous plantation holdings in Tennessee. Samuel died while at his grandmother’s funeral.

In 1853, Lucy remarried to Samuel’s brother, Franklin Sterling Wilson (1831-1876), and they resided at Oak Hall. Per family lore and hoofprints in the floor, the Wilsons hid precious horses from foraging Union troops after the fall of Nashville in 1862. They led the horses up to the second floor ballroom and kept them hidden from the Union troops searching for supplies. Franklin died in 1871. Their daughter, Frances Emeline Mobley Wilson Carr (1864-1933) lived at Oak Hall until her death. Most of the oak trees from which the house name comes were cut when the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was built through the front yard in 1912.

Next Alvin Edward “Ed” Potter, Jr. (1897-1976) who opened Commerce Union Bank owned the property for years. He wed Catherine Jane Tyne Potter (1910-1966) in 1949. Her parents were Thomas and Jane Tyne of Longleat and grandparents were George H. and Elleanore C. Ratterman of Ratterman House. Potter had started his banking career at Broadway National Bank and rose thirteen years later to President and Chairman of the Board. In 1916, he helped organize Commerce Union Bank. He was on the boards of Werthan Bag Co. and Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co. of Greensboro, NC. His involvement also included the Army Advisory Committee, Cumberland University, St. Thomas Hospital, Middle Tennessee Heart Association and the Boy Scouts of Middle TN. The Boy Scouts Nashville headquarters at Woodmont BL and Hillsboro Rd. was renamed in his brother Justin "Jet" Potter's honor.

They sold Oak Hall to Samuel Madison Stubblefield (1878-1919) and Sallie Pearl Stubblefield (1878-1966). In 1982, Stubblefield heirs including Thomas Jay and Vivian Elizabeth Ramsey Stubblefield owned the property.

In 1987, Wilson descendent James P. (Jimmy) Wilson III and his wife Sarah, purchased and began renovations on Oak Hall. Jimmy is a lawyer and partner in Blue Chair Cafe at Sewanee and also a partner in Jackalope Brewing Co. Sarah is co-owner of Blue Chair Cafe and Tavern. In 2011, the Wilsons opened Oak Hall for Rendezvous at Ravenswood, a benefit event for the Brentwood Historic Commission. The home was called Oak Hall because it was built in a grove of White Oak trees. From 1951-1987, the home was called Century Oak for one of the remaining oak trees. NRHP 1986 See Longleat, George H. Ratterman House, Ravenswood, Inglehamme


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