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Wilmor Manor: Where the Streetcar line ended - Wilson Switch

Updated: Feb 7

Wilmor Manor was built in 1905 for Col. Benjamin Franklin Wilson (1837-1912) and Sara “Sallie” Morris Wilson (1852-1928).


Photo from Tenn. State Lib &Archives


Sara was the daughter of R. C. Morris, a pioneer civil engineer in the area and one of the most important railroad men in the South. Franklin had been in New York prior to marriage and had been in business with his businessman brother, the multimillionare Richard T. Wilson. It was located on Harding Pike at Wilson BL and constructed in Modern Colonial design. The estate was just east of the Warner’s Overbrook land. The Wilsons wed about 1872. Col. Wilson started a bank in Nashville in 1870 and became a prominent businessman. In the 1880s, Wilson was part of a group that controlled the Union and American Publishing Company, which owned the American, Nashville’s leading newspaper. In 1906, he was on the board of First Savings Bank and Trust Co.

In 1880s, the family had lived at 220 High Street. In 1904, they purchased land in the fashionable western suburbs off Harding Rd. and constructed a country home. The Wilsons were also charter members of the newly formed Nashvillle Golf and Country Club. By 1905, street car service was extended to Wilson Blvd. and the end of the streetcar line was called Wilson Switch.


Image from BattleofNashvilleTrust site


In 1906, the Wilsons gave daughter Reba Franklin Wilson Gray and son-in-law John Maffitt Gray, Jr., part of their property for a house. The parcel fronted Harding Rd., and the couple built their own grand mansion. John and Reba's son Robert Morris Wilson and Bessie Dake Wilson purchased Mount Alban and renamed it Breeze Hill.


After Col. Wilson died, Sallie continued at Wilmor. Sadly, just four years later, in 1916, during a party, a fire started. Everyone got out, but the house was a loss.


By 1928, the property was subdivided into the Cherokee Park development. The name Wilmor Manor came from the combination of Wilson and Morris names. North and South Wilson Blvds are likely named for the family. See Mount Alban/ Breeze Hill, John M. Gray Home


Sources:

Nashville Pikes Vol. 3 150 Years Along Harding Pike, p. 128


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