Repairs for Russell House after recent storm damage

A violent thunderstorm damaged part of the roof and one wall of historic Avery Russell House, Thursday, July 14.

David Smoak, town of Farragut administrator, watched while Town Public Works workers placed a tarp over the damaged roof that same day.

“If you go out there, you’re going to see the roof and the shingles of the roof in the tree next door,” he said at that evening’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Chelsey Riemann, town of Farragut Public Relations coordinator, said the structure experienced extensive roof damage including two holes. She said the storm ripped shingles off the backside of the roof and high winds damaged one of the exterior brick walls.

“Obviously, you need to have the right contractor that knows how to handle historic structures,” Smoak said Wednesday, Aug. 3. He said the tarp would prevent water from entering the house and causing damage.

“Rehabilitation and preservation of an historic structure is a slow and difficult process,” Gary Palmer, Town assistant administrator, said.

Smoak said the Town has insurance with Tennessee Muni-cipal League.

Riemann said the Town would pay a $1,000 deductible for any property damage.

“Obviously, the house is the oldest house, pretty much in the town of Farragut,” Smoak said, adding it was built in the 1820s or 1830s.

“It’s a historic structure. It’s got the Battle of Campbell Station. It was an active hospital. It’s had a lot of historic figures come through there over the years. So it’s important that we keep our heritage intact, and certainly keeping the house in place is going to be important for us,” he said.

Palmer said he did not yet know the extent of the challenges involved in restoring the Avery Russell House.

“They will include such items as repairing the damaged area as closely as possible to the original construction without compromising the structure as a whole any further and working with old mortar, old bricks, hand hewn beams, hand-fired nails, et cetera,” he said.