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Sabine HIll House is a key link to our past

Johnson City Press • Nov 3, 2017 at 12:00 AM

As Press Elizabethton Bureau chief John Thompson reported earlier week, the much-needed restoration of the Taylor Home on Sabine Hill in Elizabethton is now complete after nearly five years of work. The house and the 5-acre tract where it sits is an important part our heritage in Northeast Tennessee.

Structures like Sabine Hill must be preserved so that future generations of Tennesseans can actually touch a bit of this region’s rich history. Too much of that history has fallen victim to neglect, development and indifference.

We are glad to see the Sabine Hill house has been spared from such an inglorious fate.

Protection of this property wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Helen Wilson, a member of the Elizabethton Historic Zoning Commission, and former Elizabethton Mayor Sam LaPorte, who came to the rescue of the historic house by partnering to purchase Sabine Hill for $295,000.

The property had been placed on the Tennessee Preservation Trust’s list of the state’s 10 most endangered historic treasures.

The Federal-style farmhouse became threatened in 2007 when a developer acquired an option to buy the house in order to build 46 condominium units. His plans included moving or demolishing the house.

The Sabine Hill House is built on a hill that commands the view of the western entrance to Elizabethton. It was completed by the family of Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Taylor after he returned from the War of 1812.

Taylor was an ally of Andrew Jackson and joined his army during the war. He was promoted to brigadier general and Jackson gave him the responsibility for guarding the port of Mobile, Alabama, from a  British invasion while Jackson defended New Orleans.

Taylor also was elected the first sheriff of Carter County in 1796. His descendants include two Tennessee governors, brothers Bob and Alf Taylor, who became nationally famous when they ran against each other in the 1886 election, a campaign now known as Tennessee’s “War of the Roses.”

We are pleased to see Sabine Hill is now open for guided tours, just in time for the historic home’s 200th birthday next year.

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