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Smith-Trahern Mansion Restoration Collection

Identifier: 2014.012

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters, documents, and photographs pertaining to the 1980s restoration of the Smith-Trahern Mansion. A significant portion of the collection is made up of letters between Sharon Duncan and Joseph B. Trahern, recounting Trahern's memories of growing up on the property.


  • 1947 - 1989

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Built in 1858 by Christopher Smith, the mansion was home to the Smith family until it was sold in 1919. After this time it served primarily as a rental property until it was purchased by the City of Clarksville in 1936 with the intention of turning it into a hospital, but that plan never materialized. Joseph and Margaret Trahern later purchased the home in 1947. Having fallen into disrepair by that time, the Traherns worked to restore the house, and spent many years living there before it passed to another party.

In 1983 the City of Clarksville purchased the property a second time for use as a community center. The Montgomery County Extension Homemakers, a community program originating with the University of Tennessee, reached out to the city to use the house for classes and demonstrations. During the effort to clean-up the property for use some of the members of the club took an interest in restoring the home. Sharon Duncan appears to have taken the lead on the project, contacting former property owners and residents for information on the history of the home and guidance for restoring it to close to original condition. A large portion of the collection consists of correspondence between Duncan and Joseph B. Trahern, the son of Joseph and Margaret. Trahern provided Duncan with information on the property, his family and other previous residents to help with the restoration efforts. This included pictures of the property when his parents first purchased it and it was in need of restoration, along with pictures of his family living in the mansion. As a part of the restoration process, the Montgomery County Historical Society prepared an application to add the Smith-Trahern Mansion to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1988 the application was approved. Today the home is still used as a community center, run by the Family and Community Educators in Montgomery County, and is available for tours and event rentals.


0.84 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letters, documents, and photographs pertaining to the 1980s restoration of the Smith-Trahern Mansion.


Arranged in 4 series. Each series is arranged chronologically:

Series I: Letters--Sharon Duncan Correspondence Series II: Restoration Committee Papers Series III: Newspaper Clippings Series IV: Photographs--Smith-Trahern Mansion and Trahern Family

Related Materials

Julia M. Haynes Collection (2003.010); Queen City Doll Club Collection (2005.001)

Processing Information

Items were arranged by material type and chronologically. Staples were removed. The preliminary inventory documents the original order that the materials were found in. Photographs were moved to the Archives Photograph Collection.

Smith-Trahern Mansion Restoration Collection
Sarah Fry
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Montgomery County Archives Repository

350 Pageant Lane
Suite 101D
Clarksville Tennessee 30741 United States