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Rally Hill: War of 1812 Gathering Point

Photo by rossograph

Rally Hill, built by James H. Walker (1792-1864) & Jane Maria Polk Walker (1798-1876) in 1840.

Nestled on the block between West 8th St. and West 9 St. at 319 W. Eighth St. in Columbia, it combined Federal and Greek Revival styles. James was a prominent newspaper editor, businessman. James and Jane married in 1813. Jane was James K. Polk’s sister. James founded The Western Chronicle, Maury County’s first newspaper in 1811, cofounded the county’s first bank, and was a founder in 1829 of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Rally Hill stayed in the Walker family through their daughter Annie Maria Walker Philips (1827-1919) until 1900. She was married to Lemuel H. Philips (1818-1860) who was a Columbia merchant.

In that year, Dr. William Monroe (W. Monroe) Biddle (1847-1912) and Julia Graham Rogers Biddle (1848-1919) purchased the property. For years, Dr. Biddle practiced medicine in Columbia. The Biddle family erected a guest house, Biddle Place, on the northern portion of their plot facing West Eighth St. After retiring from his practice, he was elected mayor in Columbia.

In the 1970s Monroe Mason & Mary Margaret Erwin Lovell bought it. They wed in 1964. Mary Margaret managed her family business, the Columbia Bowling Center, and she became a Master Craftsman in Crewell Embroidery. She and Monroe were steady supporters of Columbia Academy and were honored by the naming of the gym as Lovell Hall. Monroe owned Step-Lively Masonry.

In 1983, Mrs. Susan Moore Simons became the next owner. The home has changed owners several times in the last two decades. In 2020, Ruben Lambardini purchased Rally Hill and has been restoring the home. In 2011, the detached kitchen building was destroyed by fire, and Lambardini intended to restore the damage. Lambardini passed away in 1013.

In 2022, it was listed for use as mixed office space. The property has about 1.5 acres remaining. Walker gave it the name Rally Hill because it was the gathering place for troops about to march to Louisiana during the War of 1812. NRHP 1984


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