Tennesse School For The Blind
Man, what a magnificent building!
Jim Stephens at South Nashville has this:
Corner of Filmore street (Hermitage Ave.) and Middleton around 1882. Judging from the apparent unpaved streets and the 1780’s horse-drawn coach, this photo seems much older. However, the Tennessee School for the Blind in the background had obtained its new additions on each end of the center part of the building along with the new center tower which dates the photo for us somewhat. The center portion was at first a residence for John Lea, a prominent Nashville Judge in the 1870’s. Judge Lea donated this home to the State of Tennessee for use as a school for the blind. The State added the two wings and the center tower around 1881. Sometime later the cupolas on each end section were removed (probably by a storm) and never replaced. A bell tower similar to the cupolas was constructed and placed on top of the center portion. That same bell hangs in a brick bell tower today on the campus of the new School for the Blind which was constructed in the Donelson area in 1952. The old building shown here was demolished around the mid 1960’s.
Sir Francis Joseph Campbell (left) with second wife Sophia (right)
In 1840, 4-year-old Winchester, Tennessee native Francis Joseph Campbell was accidently blinded by a Locust branch. His parents provided him with every educational opportunity, including being the second child enrolled in the newly created Tennessee School for the Blind. Campbell went on to serve as Superintendent of the school and pioneered teaching techniques that revolutionized education. He later moved to England where he helped found the Royal Normal College and Academy of Music, which was so successful he was knighted in 1909 by King Edward VII. Sir Francis Campbell returned to American in 1912 where he remained until his death in 1914.