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William Randolph House/ Villines Inn

Through most of the 19th century, a well-known inn welcomed travelers on the main route between Gallatin and Springfield in northern Tennessee.


Photo by Miss Dashwood


The William Randolph House was built in 1819 by William F. Randolph (1787-1874) and Mary Hinton Randolph (1789-1879). The double log cabin house was the first building in Cross Plains. The Randolphs resided there and operated a tavern in it called Randolph’s Tavern. The Cross Plains site was ideally located on the regular stagecoach route between Gallatin and Springfield (current address is 7667 Highway 25) and was on a main route between Gallatin, TN and Hopkinsville, KY.


About 1830, Willliam H. Villines (1804-1876, a wealthy businessman from North Carolina) came to Tennessee and Robertson County. In 1833, Villines bought the Randolph House, and it became known as the Villines Inn. Villines was married to Mary Cotherm (1807-1890) in 1825. He also built a saw and grist mill on the Red River. After the Civil War, Capt. Vilines expanded to build a mill near Cross Plains, and later constructed several buildings in Springfield. With the rise and success of the railroad lines, business declined around the turn of the century. A relative, William L. (W.L.) Villines (1836-?) wed Nancy Yates (?-1879) in 1860. After Nancy died, W.L. wed Bell Bransford in 1883. W. L. was a leading stock dealer and sold wagons and buggies. He also built a telephone line from Cross Plains to Springfield. At the turn of the century, the property was known as The Old Inn. A son, Ferdinand (Babe) Villiness owned and ran the Villines Inn at this time and sold it. They sold the property in 1919.


Over the years in the 20th century, the building was used for varied purposes. Finally, in 1942, great grandson Willis Edgar Villines (1895-?) bought back the Villines Inn, and his wife Beulah Brinkley Villines (1899-1983) operated the city post office from a back room until 1969. They may have called the place Pioneer House. Beulah remained there until at least 1973.


Per a 1973 Tennessean article, although the Pioneer House was a private residence, Beaulah remained a welcoming host to regular visitors who arrived at the property - as her family’s descendents had done generations prior. Per one source, the property is the oldest standing building in Cross Plains. In 2017, Jimmy and Betty Villines own and reside in the home and have worked to restore it to 19th century decor. NRHP 1973

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