Folks in the Clarksville area are most likely aware of our local state university called Austin Peay State University (APSU), but they may not be aware of some gems hidden on the campus. The above home is the residence of the President of APSU. At the present time the President is Tim Hall. Mr. Hall and his lovely wife Lee reside in this historical mansion located in the heart of APSU's campus. Today's post is not so much about the home as it is about the history of this home and I shall share with you all a story told to my garden club by Lee.
Let's enter the home so we can view the subject of our story. To really appreciate this mural you must see it in person as it is beautiful, scenic, and so very appropriate to the home. The mural depicts several bucolic scenes of Americana. One in particular shows Niagara Falls in New York. It adds so much charm and warmth to this central hall and home that it needs no more embellishment right? Well, let me tell you its story first so you can decide.
Have you ever heard of Eddie Rabbitt? Eddie Rabbitt was a famous singer/songwriter from the 1960s to the 1980s. He wrote and sang songs which were country but which had a popular crossover to pop music. He was a rather famous guy and almost everyone over a certain age (perhaps 40?) has heard of Eddie Rabbitt.
Eddie Rabbitt passed away in 1998 due to lung cancer. He was only 56. His death was not announced to the public until after the burial. He is buried in Nashville; which is where he resided with his wife in his later years. After his death, as the story goes, Eddie's wife was looking for a home for Eddie's mural. I think Lee said the house where Eddie Rabbitt resided was going to be demolished but I'm not sure. This mural was in that house. It is a mural which can be removed and placed in another house. So Eddie's wife began looking around for an older home where the mural would be appropriate and where it would find a good home.
It just so happened that in 1999 a terrible tornado tore through downtown Clarksville and demolished most of the city; including the residence at APSU. About the time the mural needed to be removed from Eddie Rabbitt's home was about the time the residence was being rebuilt and renovated after the tornado and Eddie Rabbitt's wife offered to donate the mural to the university.
The donation was an awesome thing to do but when it was discovered it would cost $17,000 to remove and reinstall the mural into the residence the deal almost didn't happen. $17,000 is a lot of money! And the university apparently did not want to spend that kind of money on a mural. The person responsible for installing it then donated his time to remove and install the mural. Isn't that a great story? Don't you think this mural is even more special now?
I have shared one of Eddie Rabbitt's duets with Crystal Gayle. I hope you like it.
in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden