Historic Elizabethton property up for auction

By Megan R. Harrell

STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

   Next weekend the public will be able to place bids on one of Elizabethton's most visible historic homes. The Sabine Hill property, 2328 West G. St., has been in the same family for over 50 years, but will be sold in an auction Saturday, Nov. 23.
   The home is nearly 200 years old, and was built by Gen. Nathaniel Taylor before Tennessee became a state. The general and his wife are buried on the property which he originally called, Rotherwood, but later changed to Sabine Hill.
   A prominent land surveyor for the U.S. Government, Taylor owned nearly 400,000 acres in the region which he named, Happy Valley.
   Interested in the home's historical significance, James L. Reynolds purchased the property in the summer of 1949, and it has remained in his family ever since. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Reynolds moved to Elizabethton from Englewood, Tenn. He worked as a mechanical engineer at the North American Rayon Corporation.
   According to his sons, Reynolds spent his entire life renovating the home, and had unfinished work when he passed away in 1999.
   Reynolds' five children could not find their father's will, and unable to settle his estate, they have reluctantly placed the home up for auction. His sons, John and Bob Reynolds, live locally and have been working to prepare their old homestead for next week's auction.
   The men have fond memories of growing up in the historic home, and are hesitant to see it leave the family. "We had milk cattle, beef cattle, chickens, a huge vegetable garden that we canned from, grapevines, and fruit trees on the five acres," John Reynolds said.
   Although, the property is ideally located for commercial development, the Reynolds brothers would like to see the property go to a family that would appreciate all of the property's qualities as well as its history. "Dad always wanted it to go back to the Taylor heirs. To people that know its historical value, or a family that would enjoy the place," Reynolds said.
   The Sabine Hill property borders the Elizabethton Golf Course. The house itself was built in a five bay-frame block, early republic style with federal details. The Reynolds family has made several repairs to the home over the years, while maintaining much of its original structure and detail.
   Gen. Taylor's office still bears marks of his patriotic spirit. The room's original colors -- red, white and blue -- have been maintained all of these years. The home's hardwood flooring, high ceilings and ornate molding are all still in good condition.
   Although, the Reynolds family has worked hard to restore the home, they admit the new owner will have some work to do before renovations are complete. "It was really run down when we bought it and we have done a lot to it. The house was askew when Dad got it and he straightened it up," Reynolds said. "He painted it, put new windows in, some of the floors have been redone, but there are still a lot of things that need to be done at the house still."
   Some of the Reynolds family's personal property will be auctioned off along with the house and land. Farm machinery, a Studebaker car and truck, carpentry tools, and household furniture will be up for auction as well.
   Goodwin Street Auction Company will be holding the event that begins at 10:30 a.m.