Could it be too much history lost at once? A vote is up soon on whether a historic Clarksville church will come down. Some say this would be too big a loss in the midst of another historic demolition. Others argue the structure is too unsafe to keep.

A plane could be heard flying over a very old building Thursday morning, standing at Fourth and Main before so much technology around it.

"It's the first brick church in Clarksville," said author and historian Carolyn Ferrell. "We're talking 1830. It existed as a church 52 years. From there, it  was apartments, a boarding house."

Ferrell owns her share of Clarksville's past, like items from the old snuff factory and a fan from the Murphy Funeral Home. 

She said the old church building is important to Clarksville's history, and it's hard to hear it could go. 

"It hurts," said Ferrell. "Historic buildings are invaluable to a community. Historic buildings add a flavor people are looking for. It's a dear building."

The owner has applied to demolish the buildings and submitted two reports to the city saying the place has major structural problems. Some neighbors told News4 of concerns of the building's safety.

Ferrell said she knows the owner has tried to save it.

The Common Design Review Board will be doing its own study, while a vote on the demolition will be on July 22 at 3pm. 

"I wish we could have a billionaire come in and say, 'I'll save the building,' but that's not going to happen," said Ferrell. "We tie our memories to our buildings, and I'm like a lot of people walking around. I remember so much about them."

What makes the thought of losing the building tougher for some is the demolition happening now of the nearby Hodgson-Dabbs building. It stood downtown for 140 years. The property has the same owner as the former church building.

"The emotion coming from losing the Hodgson building was very tangible," said Ferrell. "You could feel it."

Ferrell said it was hard enough seeing the downtown history lost after Clarksville's 1999 tornado. She said that's why the ties to the past that remain are special. 

"We're grabbing on to every little piece we can save," she said. 

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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