The first ever peaceful transition of power after bitterly contested popular elections fought by principled partisans occurred in America in the “Revolution of 1800,” after elections that gave the Republican party led by Thomas Jefferson control over both the presidency and congress. Both the Republicans and their opponents, the Federalist party, believed that the fundamental principles of democracy were at stake in the conflict between the two parties.
Sound familiar? And yet America prospered and became the greatest nation on the planet.
Today, once again, the world will watch the peaceful transition of power in the U.S. Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president, OUR President. Let us pray for his success.
This is the Athenaeum Rectory in Columbia, Tennessee. I painted it with little detail because I plan to offer this painting as a class at the Athenaeum and help raise funds to further restore this historic beauty and keep it open to the public.
Construction of the Athenaeum began in 1835. Samual Polk Walker, a nephew to President James K. Polk, was building the home as his new residence, yet he never lived there. The first family to live in the home was the Smith Family. Rev. Franklin G. Smith, with his family in tow, came to take charge of the Columbia Female Institute next door to the Athenaeum Rectory. They rented the beautiful home until an arrangement could be made for them to purchase it.
By 1852, Rev. Smith started his own school, the Athenaeum. This school continued to operate through the Civil War and into the early 1900s. After it closed, the school was purchased by the City of Columbia to be used as one of the first public schools. Later, this site became Central High School. However most of the historic buildings were torn down to accommodate the need for a county high school. All that remained was the rectory.
The Athenaeum Rectory continued to be in Smith Family until the 1970s, when the last Smith (Miss Carrie) passed away. At that time, the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA) took charge of the property and manages it to this day.
But it needs help. Funds are badly needed to repair and restore this jewel. I teach here once per month in the south parlor or in the gallery (porch) and donate a portion of the proceeds to the cause. This painting will probably be the reference painting for February's class.