The historic Nimrod Long home, located on Cornelious Avenue in Russellville, has changed ownership once again and plans to revive the grand ol’ red Victorian brick beauty are as big as the three story structure itself. If the new owner’s visions come to fruition for this 153-year-old home, it could again be the talk of the town as it once was back in 1860 when it was built.
Dick Dickerson, of Adairville, recently bought the home from Roger Davis. Davis and his late wife the former Marion Pillow, purchased the home in 1986. The reason Mr. Davis said they bought the historic home was to house his wife’s enormous antique collection, which was auctioned off in March of this year.
“It is hard to let the place go,” said Davis, whose wife passed away in 2010. “We raised three children in this house.” Davis did add that he knows the house is going to a good owner, which makes it a little easier to let it go.
Norma Kutzman, a relator for Haley Auctions & Realty, said this was one of the most interesting properties she has had the pleasure to show.
“This home is a great piece of property to have listed, said Kutzman. ” It was a great opportunity for me to be able to show the home.”
Kutzman said the historical value of the home in itself is very interesting and she marveled at the structure’s preservation.
“I look forward to what Mr. Dickerson is going to improve in the house, and to his future plans,” said Kutzman.
According to the Logan County Genealogical Society, Mr. Nimrod Long was born in 1814 in Logan County to John Slaughter and Ann Elizabeth Foster Long. He was the fifth of eight children. He was a self-made business man becoming successful at an early age.
According to the Biographical Encyclopedia of Ky of the Dead and Living Men, 19th Century, Long moved to Russellville from the Old Volney area at age 14 and soon became a clerk in a dry-goods store and in three years was admitted to a partnership. His obituary in the Hopkinsville New Era, April 1887 reported, “When only seventeen years old he opened a dry goods store in his native county. That year he was sent to Philadelphia by his senior partners to buy a stock of goods. About the time he arrived in the city he received intelligence of his partner’s death, and he found himself in a ‘strange land without money or friends.’ But the courage of the boy did not forsake him. He went to a wholesale merchant and told him his position and wants.
“The honor of the honest face and spirit of the boy prevailed and the merchant told him to accept his endorsement for any amount he wished to buy. The Kentucky lad purchased a stock of goods suitable to the desires of his customers and returned home. The Philadelphia merchant was promptly paid and Long’s credit established. This was the beginning of an honorable career. The story from his own lips, only told to a few.”
Long was also the owner of the Nimrod Long Banking Company located in the Southern Deposit Bank building on South Main Street. During his time there, the infamous James gang robbed the bank. It is said that Long ran from the robber at the counter, but the outlaw guarding the back door shot him with the bullet grazing his skull, momentarily knocking him unconscious. He came to and sounded the alarm. The bullet could have ended his life.
Long owned 23 lots in Russellville and 60 farms or land in Logan County. He was a very wealthy individual. He built the house on Cornelious in 1860, and according to the Logan Genealogical Society the home would have been the main feature of the land just north of Russellville proper.
The home looked out over the Bethel College, now the Bethel Shopping Center. Bethel College was close to Mr. Long’s heart. He was particularly interested in the men’s dormitory which he financed and was named after him (N. Long Hall).
The home was one of the first to have indoor bathrooms, wall closets and electric lighting. It also boosts speaking tubes as predecessor to today’s intercom system. The house itself is solid brick, 3 courses thick, outer walls 12 inches thick, inner walls 9 inches thick and has slate roofing. Trim for the windows is 12 inches wide. There is a grand staircase in the front entrance complete with a stain glass window at the top.
A unique feature was the guttering on the top roof that routed water into a huge lead tank in the attic. The tank is gone, but the frame for it remains. The tank supplied bath and running water before most in Russellville had the feature. A tombstone acts as a base for the stairs leading from the cellar to the main floor bedroom.
New owner Dickerson plans on restoring the Long home and opening it up for all to experience.
“Since I was a young boy I have loved big old houses. When I took architectural drawing in school I drew the plans for older type large houses when most students were drawing smaller modern type houses. Growing up I was always drawn to the older large homes. As an adult a large house is all that I have ever wanted,” said Dickerson, who grew up living in a fairly large house and traveled the world and visited in large houses. For the past 18 years Dickerson has owned Peach Blossom Farm south of Adairville, which held a very large old home.
“For many years of my life, as I would drive into Russellville, I would look northward past the Bethel Dipper and the Bethel Shopping Center and there ahead, looming over all else would be this very large magnificent red brick manor house. I drove by it often and admired the house, the grounds, it’s beautiful setting and just about everything about it,” said Dickerson. “One day in June I was driving by just to admire the palatial home when I spotted a for sale sign. I could hardly believe it! I immediately stopped and called the realtor, Norma Kutzman, and set up an appointment for the following Monday. One walk through was enough for me.”
Dickerson loves history and the house definitely has that. Before the day was over Dickerson had signed a contract and was the happy and proud new owner. He started moving in in just hours. Some have asked how Dickerson could possibly furnish such a large house. He has ‘family hand me downs’ from five generations of both his parents families to help furnish the home and will also have some furnishings from the Davis collection.
“My plans are to restore the home to its past glory. I plan to make it as energy efficient as possible, upgrade both the outside and inside of the home, plant new landscaping, possibly a fountain, additional trees and lots of flowers and shrubbery. I also plan to upgrade the security with some of the latest security equipment,” said Dickerson, who has hired a team of home restorers headed by the well-known Nashville designers Paul Green and Katie Pose who are already on the job. “I think the community will see quick results. I want the home to retake the position as one of the most beautiful in Russellville.”
Dickerson also plans to sponsor four events a year for needy charitable organizations. One would be for the Humane Society, another for the Toys for Tots program, a third would be for law enforcement personnel and their families, and a fourth is yet to be determined.
“If all goes well I will live a long and continued happy life. I plan for it to be in Logan County and in the big brick home on Cornelious Avenue,” said Dickerson.