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Arnold home was first the Samuel Robertson House
By Linda Waggener
On assignment for Mike Watson, president of the Adair Heritage Association, I visited with John and Missy Arnold on their porch overlooking the peaceful, downtown Columbia Roseland Plantation.
It's hard to travel Hurt Street without wondering who has preserved the acres of green space that horses, cats and dogs enjoy, and wonder at the historic brick home.
John and his sister Sara Sproles grew up there thanks to their parents, Bernice Waggener Arnold and Russell Arnold, who taught them of its history. The Samuel Robertson House was built between 1812 and 1814 before the Civil War. It was a hospital and then a school - and it was a stop for escaping slaves during the days of the Underground Railroad.
John said, "The Underground Railroad tunnel was still open when my grandfather, Papa Tom Waggener, bought the property in the 1920s." His Mom told him she remembered playing in the tunnel when she was little.
He said he was told the Slaves would get out of the tunnel when it was safe and head on to Greensburg. The steps are now treacherous down to the dirt cellar and the tunnel has since fallen in. Only the entrance can be seen.
Things you can still observe are the the hitching post hooks that were used when the Stagecoach stopped at the front door. The cistern is still full of water.
Before his family's time, the original front door was closed off when the street no longer ran in front of the house. The closed entry space, now the back of the house, allowed the homeowners to put in a modern bathroom.
John remembers that Hurt Street was just a graveled alley when he was a pre-teen and his Dad allowed him to practice driving skills on it. He first went everywhere in a horse and cart, then when he came of age, he was allowed to practice driving a car on it. "There was no better place to grow up in the 50s than Columbia," he said.
His parents owned a service Station and root beer stand on Jamestown Street where he helped out. When he was 12, John remembers how much like "Cheers" it was, only without alcohol in those days. "There were plenty of storytellers, liars and whit'lers," he said. "Dad was a character, he would put me and Sara up on horse and then slap the horse and scare us - that's how he taught us to ride."
Missy is, as Adair Countians say, "from off", Lexington. They met through her brother's best friend who worked with John.
A professor at Lindsey Wilson College, Missy said she had heard of Columbia before meeting him, though. She had a Transylvania College roommate named Sally Hutchison. She said Sally's mother, Louise, would visit and bring the most stylish clothes from her women's store here. After marriage, she became a Columbia resident and a teacher at Lindsey Wilson.
Congratulations to Missy and John Arnold as they celebrate 34 years of marriage and life in a historic home.
This story was posted on 2021-09-08 13:04:33
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