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200 North Castle Heights Ave.
Lebanon, Tennessee 37087
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Museum and History Center: Prehistory

The City of Lebanon Museum and History Center: Prehistory

history Prior to the establishment of Lebanon in 1802, the area was both the home and the hunting grounds of various Native American cultures. The most advanced prior to European contact, the Mississippian culture, was represented by a fortified village on spring creek near the southern border of Lebanon. Built around a temple mound, this 13th to 15th centuries village was one of a cluster of similar ones in the middle Cumberland River Valley.
The earliest dwellings and government buildings in Lebanon were built of cedar logs. Some like the Cartwright House remained in use until the late 1800s.
Sam Houston, Governor of Tennessee and first President of the Republic of Texas, began his law practice in 1818 in this log office rented to him by the Lebanon Postmaster, Isaac Golladay, for one dollar a month.
In 1848, a new Court House was completed on the southern side of the Public Square to replace the soncond one in the middle of it. Designed by William Strickland, the Philadelphia architect who also designed the Tennessee State Capitol, it burned in 1881.
Cumberland University was founded in 1842 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Its first permanent building, also designed by William Strickland, was erected in 1844 at the edge of Lebanon on a capus at the corner of present College and East Spring Streets. It housed the university's three schools, Arts, Law, and Theology. Occupied by both Confederate and Federal troops, it was burned during the war between the states.
This 1859 photograph of the northeastern corner of the Public Square, shows the typical stores that surrounded it in the ante-bellum period. Beyond, to the left, can be seen the roof of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the third Strickland Lebanon building.

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