From stable to stage: the history of 110 W. College Street


For 50 cents a day you could rent a horse and carriage in downtown Murfreesboro.

110 West College Street might be known by locals for bringing the arts to Murfreesboro, but at one time this location was credited for providing pioneers with transportation options.

The first established business in the 110 West College location was a livery stable (see photo).  

"A livery stable was a place where pioneers could hire horses, teams, buggies, and wagons. The stable was often attached to a hotel or boarding house. Unlike modern-day rental cars, transports had to be returned to the place where you rented it.  If you didn’t, a warrant was sworn out for your arrest. 

One ad from 1850 reported that boarding a horse would set you back 50 cents a day. Pretty pricey for a time when an average worker earned less than $11 a month. Another ad, circa 1880, quoted $10 a week to board a horse."

What Were Frontier Livery Stables Like? - True West Magazine




Italianate Renaissance makes its debut in downtown Murfreesboro.

In 1909, built by the US Department of Treasury, the first post office was constructed, making it the first federal building in Murfreesboro. The location...110 West College Street. 

The Italianate Renaissance style structure was designed by Robert Taylor. "The building was a stock design developed decades earlier and used in multiple locations between 1890 and 1910. Taylor was the "supervising architect" for the Treasury Department (a political appointee) at the time of the Murfreesboro construction but had no role in the design. Post Office planners usually selected a stock design that was thought to be compatible with other important structures in the area. The decision to use a Romanesque/Italianate style for the 1909 Murfreesboro structure may have been influenced by Oaklands (then called Oak Manor.)"

The old Murfreesboro Post Office – Rutherford County Tennessee Historical Society (rutherfordtnhistory.org)

“It is a sad commentary that a city of schools such as Murfreesboro, a city supposedly of education, knowledge, culture and breeding, should have no public library.”

This quote was posted by Rutherford Courier Editor, Robert Lasseter in his column on January 27, 1942. "His efforts were instrumental in the creation of the library system that we know today."

Origins of the first library in Murfreesboro

"The origins of the first library in Murfreesboro date back to the Helen Hunt Jackson Reading Club, formed in 1887, with 12 original members, all contributing one good book to the collection. 

The Murfreesboro Library Association was formed in 1889 by members of the original HHJ Reading Club, and the book collection's first home was an empty counter in the Booker Smith Drug Store. From there the growing book collection moved from the drug store counter to a room in the Mason Court Building on East Main Street. After exceeding 1,000 books the Library Association moved its collection to a space above Vickers' Drug Store on the square in 1915."  

The following year in late 1916 the entire collection was moved to a permanent home at the property on 221 East College Street, now known as the Woman's Club.  

"Henry T. Linebaugh, a Florida resident, and Murfreesboro native read the challenging words posted by Rutherford Courier Editor, Robert Lasseter in his column on January 27, 1942. Linebaugh was inspired to make a $5,000 donation toward the creation of a public library in his hometown. His only stipulation was that it be named for his mother, Mattie V. Linebaugh."

"The Linebaugh Public Library was established in the winter of 1947 and formally opened on April 1, 1948, in the old Hale Home at Central Memorial Park with Myla Parsons as the librarian."

"During the summer of 1961, the General Services Administration (GSA) released the deed of the old Post Office building at 102 West College Street to Murfreesboro and Rutherford County governments to be handed over to the Linebaugh Library Board. In August 1962, the library opened on West College Street with a new librarian, Briley Adcock. It was here that the library card system with an individual card for each patron was established."

RCLS History


U.S. House of Representative, Bart Gordon, diligently worked to get the federal government to donate the former Linebaugh Library for creation of The Center for the Arts.

Bart Gordon was successful in securing federal funds for the creation of the first arts center in Murfreesboro, and the same year, the city donated $500,000 "with the hope that the fourteen appointed commissioners, led by John Hood, would make it happen!"

"Along with hundreds of caring patrons, countless corporate donations, two generous charitable foundation checks from Ted and Gloria LaRoche, and Andy and Dottie Adams, and lastly a greatly appreciated $500,000 grant from Christy- Houston, the wheels began to turn. Johnson Bailey Architects drew up the interior renovations in 1994, and things were underway!"

"A gala was planned, $50 bricks were sold to pave the sidewalk, 168 new seats were installed in the theatre and a full-time director was hired. The icing on the cake was Larry Schumacher, a brilliant designer, who made the entire building come together. He ordered drapes, carpet, marble floors, and everything necessary to make the center beautiful. From opening day, the center was in full swing, focused on exposing and teaching the arts to our area youth, and delighting patrons with wonderful exhibits and performances."

The renovation of the building was awarded the Governor’s Award for Economic and Community Development.

Do you know the History of our Center For The Arts?

The mission of the Center for the Arts is to enhance the quality of life in our community by providing cultural and economic enrichment through the arts.

ABOUT | CFTA

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