- [S106] The Mountain Press, 6 Aug 2012.
Upland Chronicles: Cardwell house an example of Queen Anne dwelling
by CARROLL McMAHAN
One of the finest examples of Victorian exuberance in Sevier County is the old brick house located on Boyds Creek Highway next door to Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church.
The house was constructed between 1899 and 1902 by Archibald Napoleon Cardwell.
Cardwell built the house on what was then the main road connecting Sevierville and Knoxville, as a stopping point for travelers. The structure is an exemplary example of a Queen Anne-style dwelling that was designed by George F. Barber, a renowned Knoxville architect.
Cardwell ordered the plans for the design from one of George Barber’s catalogues. Barber described the house as “a house of ample convenient room, compact and well proportioned, of rather plain design yet sensibly and tastefully finished. “
Apparently, Cardwell requested a few alterations, such as the tower, which was changed from a circular design to an octagonal design. The circular tower, capped with a conical roof, and a circular porch were altered to an octagonal shape with a bell cast roof accordingly; allowing the tower to be built of brick instead frame.
Ironically, this elaborate tower, the most distinguishing element of the house, was the cause of Cardwell’s death in 1902 when he died a few days after falling from the scaffold surrounding its slate-covered peak as the house was nearing completion.
Archibald Napoleon Cardwell, known as “Nep” or “Archy,” was born March 8, 1852 near Gatlinburg. He was the son of James and Polly Austin Cardwell who owned a thousand-acre farm in the 11th Civil District of Sevier County.
Cardwell married Sarah “Sallie “Lincoln Evans, daughter of Roger McClellan and Elizabeth Lindsey Evans. Their children were: Molly, James Rutherford, Alice Frances, Charles Austin, Mack, Lora and Icelona
At one time, Archibald Napoleon Cardwell owned a turbine mill in Gatlinburg on Roaring Fork Creek, a short distance from where it emptied into the west prong of the Little Pigeon River. Sometime in the late 1880s Cardwell moved his family to Boyd’s Creek.
The family first lived in an old house on the property while Cardwell constructed a building in which to operate a mercantile store on the opposite side of the road. It served as a stage stop and inn for those traveling to and from Knoxville from various parts of Sevier County. The basement was used as a stable for horses.
Cardwell was known for his love of people and frequently offered overnight lodging to tired wayfarers. He never turned away anyone in need of shelter.
The ground floor at the rear of the store had two large rooms — a kitchen and a dormitory room where farmers from remote mountainous regions could stop and prepare their own meals and spend the night.
Although he was a staunch Methodist, Cardwell donated one acre of his land across the road from his store and next door to his home for the construction of Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church. It was beside the church that he decided to build his new home in 1899.
The new house was just about completed when the scaffold around the tower on which Cardwell was working gave way and he fell to the ground sustaining injuries that resulted in his death five days later. He was 50 years old when he died on May 19, 1902.
In his obituary published in the Montgomery Vindicator, editor Bill Montgomery described Napoleon Cardwell as “a man of wonderful energy and industry, always attending strictly to his business.”
Although Mrs. Cardwell, the widow, later married Edward Frazier the property remained in the Cardwell family until they sold it to Joe Snyder in 1941.
Joe Snyder, as a small boy living a short distance north of river from the place, was once brought by his father to Cardwell’s store to buy his first store-bought suite of clothes. Afterward he told of how he had admired the big house and that looking at it from the store, he had said to himself “someday I’m going to have a house like that.”
Joe Snyder married Maude Moore in 1904 and moved to Knoxville. He began working for Southern Railroad in 1905. When he began looking for a place to move when he retired, he inquired about the Cardwell place. He bought it in June 1941.
Now there was a new interest that led the Snyders to desire this location. Their niece, Mary Kate Howell, who they raised as their own daughter after the death of her parents, had married Theron Hodges of Boyd’s Creek and lived nearby.
It was a problem to find a contractor who would take on the task of repairing the old building and installing modern conveniences without compromising the appearance of the old house in any way.
The Snyders moved into the refurbished house on April 29, 1942. Mr. Snyder renamed the place “Kirkside” because kirk is a Scottish term for church and the house is located next door the church.
Considering this a special blessing from God for which to be thankful, they decided to express their gratitude by offering the use of their home to their church. They were members of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, Knoxville and some of the church’s organizations came out for special events and enjoyed the beauty of the country setting.
They later moved their membership to Boyd’s Creek Baptist Church and the place was available for its congregation’s use as well.
Before he retired, Joe Snyder became interested in woodworking and attended evening classes in the craft at Knoxville High School. While attending the woodworking classes, he made most of the walnut furniture that they used in the house. He spent most of his time in the garden and lawn, ever striving to add beauty and careful not to detract from the loveliness of the old house.
He was never happier than when planning for a family reunion or church gathering. He believed that the stately house beside the beautiful white church could be a source of pleasure for passers-by to look upon.
After the Snyders passed on, the old house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Moyers, who made their home there for several years. Later Joan Riddell purchased the house with the intention of opening a Bed and Breakfast.
Current owner Cathy Edmondson has owned the property for the past 15 years. She opened a Bed and Breakfast there named Victorian Dreams, which she operated for five years before turning it in to the Rose Arbor Tea Room for a year and a half. Currently a tenant resides there.
Today the stately old house beside the little country church remains a source of pleasure for passers-by to look upon, just as Joe Snyder wished. It also invokes memories of those who have cherished the place for more than a century.
— Carroll McMahan is the Special Projects Facilitator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. The Upland Chronicles series celebrates the heritage and past of Sevier County. If you have suggestions for future topics, would like to submit a column or have comments, please contact Carroll McMahan at 453-6411 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ron Rader at 604-9161 or email to email@example.com.
- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, 447a, 29 Jun 1870.
- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, Family 669, Dist. 11, 1860.
- [S112] Census, 1880.
Name: Nopoln Cardwell
Residence: Gatlinburg, Sevier, Tennessee
Birthplace: Tennessee, United States
Relationship to Head: Self
Spouse's Name: Sarah L. Cardwell
Spouse's Birthplace: Tennessee, United States
Father's Birthplace: Tennessee, United States
Mother's Birthplace: Tennessee, United States
Race or Color (Expanded): White
Ethnicity (Standardized): American
Martial Status: Married
Age (Expanded): 28 years
Occupation: Cabinet-Work In
NARA Film Number: T9-1278
Page Character: A
Entry Number: 12
Film number: 1255278
Household Gender Age Birthplace
SELF Nopoln Cardwell M 28 Tennessee, United States
WIFE Sarah L. Cardwell F 17 Tennessee, United States
DAU Aliece Cardwell F 3M Tennessee, United States
Zachariah Cardwell M 19 Tennessee, United States
- [S112] Census, 1900.
Name: Archer N Cardwell
Titles & Terms:
Event Date: 1900
Event Place: ED 149 Civil District 14, Sevier, Tennessee, United States
Birth Date: Mar 1852
Relationship to Head of Household: Head
Father's Birthplace: Tennessee
Mother's Birthplace: Tennessee
Race or Color (Standardized): White
Marital Status: Married
Years Married: 14
Estimated Marriage Year: 1886
Mother How Many Children:
Number Living Children:
Sheet Letter: B
Family Number: 169
Reference Number: 83
Film Number: 1241596
Digital Folder Number: 004118730
Image Number: 00244
Household Gender Age Birthplace
Head Archer N Cardwell M 48 Tennessee
Wife Sallie L Cardwell F 37 Tennessee
Son James R Cardwell M 13 Tennessee
Daughter Alice F Cardwell F 12 Tennessee
Son Charlie A Cardwell M 10 Tennessee
Son Mack A Cardwell M 6 Tennessee
Daughter Lora Cardwell F 4 Tennessee
Daughter Icelonia Cardwell F 2 Tennessee
Nephew William L Cardwell M 1 Tennessee
Employee Edward Frazier M Tennessee
- [S34] In the Shadow of the Smokies, Smoky Mountain Historical Society, (1993), 212.
Listed with J. E. Frazier 24 May 1879, 7 February 1932.
- [S58] Marriage Certificate.
Groom's Name: A. N. Cardwell
Groom's Birth Date:
Bride's Name: S. L. Evans
Bride's Birth Date:
Marriage Date: 04 May 1879
Marriage Place: , Sevier, Tennessee
Groom's Father's Name:
Groom's Mother's Name:
Bride's Father's Name:
Bride's Mother's Name:
Groom's Marital Status:
Groom's Previous Wife's Name:
Bride's Marital Status:
Bride's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M51968-1
System Origin: Tennessee-VR
Source Film Number: 969965
Reference Number: 2:DQDN6X