Harvest Wine & Cheese Event to benefit Lebanon’s Pickett Chapel

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The fifth annual Harvest Wine & Cheese Event will be Saturday from 6:30-10:30 p.m. in Baird Chapel on the Cumberland University campus. 

The evening will include music, dancing, heavy hors d’oeuvres , sweet treats, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. Disc jockey Buddy T will play a wide array of genres.   

Tickets are $50 each, half of which is tax deductible. Tickets may be purchased from members of the Wilson County Black History Committee or by calling 615-444-9487.  

A silent auction will feature items that will appeal to almost everyone. Donations from the Upper Cumberland Wine Association, Henderson’s Florist, Frist Center for Visual Arts, Cheers Wine and Spirits and Custom Color Photography will be available to the highest bidder. There will be gift cards from several local businesses, including Mo’ Cara, Klean-Way Cleaners, Sammy B’s, and Los Compradres. Several themed baskets, including wine, will be available. Mike Russell, a retired Air Force colonel, will take up to three people for a scenic tour of the Lebanon area in a Cessna 172. Russell, who lives in Lebanon, has more than 40 years of experience as a military and commercial pilot. Market Basket Wine & Liquor will again offer an in-home wine tasting for up to 20 people.  

 The Wilson County Black History Committee has pursued restoration of Pickett Chapel, and all proceeds from the event will go toward that effort. The committee’s intention is for the building to house an African-American museum and also be a place for educational and community events.  

The first Methodist church in Lebanon and the oldest brick building still standing in the county, Pickett Chapel was built around 1829 at what is now 209 E. Market St. in Lebanon. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the walls are made of hand-pressed bricks, three bricks thick. Every person interested in the history of Wilson County should be aware of the value of preservation of this building.

Age, weather, fire, and until recently, lack of maintenance have taken a heavy toll on the structure. The chapel has received a new roof, and the cupola was restored. With the help of a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission, Wilson County and Lebanon governments, along with individual donations, provided funding for new gutters and downspouts, and a French drain was installed to prevent further damage to the foundation. Work was also done inside to stabilize several elements of the structure. A new front door was designed and ordered. The State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Program and Middle Tennessee Community Foundation have made contributions to the restoration fund.  

Under the direction of local archeologists Phillip and Shannon Hodge, several exploratory digs were made on the grounds of Pickett Chapel, and the foundation of a building was discovered.  

As funds are available, preservation of the historic structure will continue. The Harvest Wine & Cheese Event is the largest fundraiser of the year for Pickett Chapel restoration.


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