HAMMOND HOUSE HISTORY
The house now known as Hammond House, located at 121 Shirley Street, in the Boatyard Historic District (on the National Register of Historic Places), has been fully restored by L. Vurl and Neta Ruth Hammond and generously given fully furnished to the Netherland Inn/Exchange Place Association in 1996 by a bequest in the will of Vurl Hammond. This house is the only structure remaining in the Boatyard Historic District from the late nineteenth century that has retained its basic architectural integrity.
The eight-room house is handsomely constructed and is a modest example of the late Victorian Period. The exterior of the house and especially the interior were built with taste and grace. The two-story frame house is entered by a hallway that is flanked by two formal rooms. The back rooms on the ground floor form the dining and kitchen area and sun parlor (added 1982) while the attractive stairway leads to the three bedrooms on the second floor.
In 1892, Louie M. Smith, wife of E. D. Smith, purchased the three-quarter acre lot. The Smiths immediately built this lovely home. The Smiths only child, Willie, died in childhood. Louie M. Smith was the daughter of Dr. William E. Jones, a leading doctor and dentist in old Kingsport. Dr. Jones came here with his wife, Sarah, and family from Gainesville, Georgia soon after the Civil War. In a few years he became a prominent man in the community. He also owned the sawmill that provided the lumber to build the house. The house remained in Louie’s family for many years but eventually fell into a state of disrepair.
When Vurl and Neta Hammond bought the house in 1969, black varnish covered the oak floors and bright paint hid the antique wallpaper. Vurl owned a bait and tackle shop and was quite a handyman. Neta had retired from her career at the post office, and they decided to devote their energy toward renovating the house to its original Victorian style. Most of the furniture came from local estate sales. After the renovation, the Hammonds, often dressed in period costume, hosted many important gatherings. The Netherland Inn/Exchange Place Association is pleased to continue this tradition according to the wishes of the Hammonds.