Mallory Bryan Gonzalez said that “a chance to own a piece of history, right here in the heart of where I grew up,” is the reason that she and her husband, Michael Gonzalez, placed a winning bid of $400,000 on a historic Lebanon house.
The colonnade home at 413 W. Spring St. in Lebanon is more than 100 years old and is adjacent to Cumberland University’s campus.
“I used to pass all these houses when I was a girl and think ‘they’re all so beautiful but the white one is my favorite,’ ” she said.
The Gonzalez’s “new” house was built in 1915 and belonged to Jim and the late Vondell Lancaster, who were married for 67 years until her death in 2018.
Jim made his business mark on Wilson County when he moved here in 1950 to run Farm Bureau Insurance, according to Rick Smith. Smith’s parents, Max and Ann Smith, were longtime friends of the Lancasters.
“They spent a lot of time in this house,” Smith said a few minutes before the auction last Saturday.
“There was a group of them that played golf 365 days a year. They’d play golf when it was so cold, they’d have a heater in the cart, jump out and hit the ball then run back to the cart. The Porters, Lesters, Denneys, a group of businessmen that were all great friends up until they started passing away. You just don’t see friendships like that anymore,” he said
The Lancasters moved into the house in the 1970s, according to Smith. Jim Lancaster was a longtime member of Cumberland’s Board of Trust and a close friend of Cumberland Hall of Fame baseball coach Woody Hunt. The house is located across the street from the university’s Ernest L. Stockton Field and quite a few baseballs landed in the Lancasters’ yard over the years.
Lebanon radio station owner Susie James said that former Lebanon Mayor Tex Maddox lived in the house before the Lancasters.
Lebanon company Agee & Johnson conducted the auction. Bids opened briskly at $200,000 and raced to $300,000 before sputtering to $400,000 with the Gonzalez family.
When asked where she will start renovations in the house, Mallory, who owns The Loft Hair Studio on the downtown square, quickly gave the most popular answer — the kitchen.
“But we do want to keep it as original as possible since it’s a historic home,” she said.
Michael, who owns a pharmacy consulting firm, said that his focus is going to be on the floors.
“There’s beautiful hardwood under those carpets,” he said. “So, we’re going to pull those up first.”