Save Rebel's Rest
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In 1866, George R. Fairbanks, one of the Founders of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, built the house pictured here that has stood virtually unchanged for 148 years. It is a Tennessee Historical site, and is the oldest standing house in Sewanee.
After a fire destroyed the second floor of this house on July 23rd, the University announced that 2 teams of engineers had evaluated the site and stated that:
- the house was not safe and had to be taken to the ground
- Tennessee state building codes prevented the rebuilding from what remained.
Our team of experts believes that what remains of the house CAN be saved, and that there is a lot of leeway in the code for historic structures such as this.
Also, the Tennessee Historical Commission has not ever been invited to evaluate the site since the fire.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, hereby petition the Administration of The University of the South to:
1) Delay indefinitely the dismantling of the 148-year old Tennessee Historical site known as Rebel's Rest.
2) Invite the Tennessee Historical Commission team to evaluate the site and provide expert guidance and recommendations
3) Invite our team of independent Alumni historic preservation specialists, structural engineers, and other qualified interested parties to evaluate the site and provide 3rd party expert opinions on whether any portion of the site can be saved
4) Share the existing evaluations by engineering firms hired by the University with the undersigned and the interested Community at large
Our goal is to renovate and preserve what is left of the iconic Fairbanks family home. If our team of experts agrees with the experts previously hired by the University that the building must be dismantled, we would ask the University to:
1) Build a building on the site with a replication of the facade that honors the original Fairbanks home for whatever use the University has in mind, using the salvaged structural materials
2) Announce its intent to do so with clarity