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The Beeches/ John Woodard House

Photo by Kerry Roberts

The Beeches/ John Woodard House was built in 1867 by Judge John Woodard (1825-1903) and Julia Porter Woodard (1846-1913). (John’s first wife was his first cousin Caroline Woodard Woodard - 1827-1863.)

Originally sitting on 308 acres, it is located at 6142 State Route 49 in Springfield and was constructed in Italianate style. A distinctive feature of the house is the “interior ceiling painting” that was done by itinerant French painters. Woodard was a businessman, a county judge, and a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives: 1859-61, 1867-69, 1881. In 1860, Robertson County required bonds to enter the distillery business, and a relative, Col. Wiley Woodard, submitted one along with numerous other families. After the Civil War, the whiskey business recovered and boomed. After 1865, John had formed a wholesale whiskey dealership with William Moore called Moore, Woodard & Company later shortened to Woodard & Moore. After John’s father died, he bought the distillery equipment from the estate of the Spring Creek Distillery and the Garrett distillery. By 1869, the dealership had changed from just producing barrels or gallon jugs to bottling whiskey In 1872, he was president of the Springfield National Bank, owner of the Springfield Hotel, and operated the Silver Springs Distillery.

He built the Woodard Building as a warehouse for his wholesale whiskey business. In 1881, Woodard moved to Nashville and entered the grocery business and became a director of American National Bank.

He kept ownership of The Beeches until 1889, and then gave The Beeches and its 308 acre property to his son, Albert Green Woodard (1867-1938), as a wedding gift when he wed Mamie Davis (1870-1932). In 1938 just prior to his death, Albert sold the farm out of the family to J.W. Helm.

By 1978, Robert Brown, Jr. owned The Beeches with nine acres, but most of the acreage was sold off by 1982 when Brown reported owning only 2.5 acres.

As of 2012, the owners are Kerry and Dianne Roberts. Roberts is a member of the Tennessee State Senate and a businessman. John Woodard named the house for the tall beech trees standing in the front yard. NRHP 1982 See also: East Ivy, Bethell Place


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