By Crystal Burns
Trenton City Judge Jeff Mueller and his wife Angela will take ownership of the historic Freed House, pending board approval Tuesday night.
Mayor Ricky Jackson said Friday that Mueller has already finished work on the exterior of the home, which included repairing the front porch and painting.
“That’s what we asked him to do,” Jackson said.
Jackson said Gibson County Chancery Court has signed off on removing the in perpetuity clause from the deed, and City Attorney Richard Gossum has approved the new deed as drawn up by Mueller.
City leaders thought they had buyers lined up in March 2017 and set terms for the transfer that included the transferee paying all legal expenses and costs required for court approval of the proposed transfer and depositing with the city a retainer of $5,000 to cover legal costs and expenses.
The board will vote on the transfer at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
Jackson said he is pleased with the arrangement because he believes the Muellers are willing to put money into the house to update and maintain it.
“It can’t do anything but get better,” he said. “A house goes down without anyone living in it.”
Betty Poteet, chair of the Oakland Cemetery Committee, is planning a tag sale at the Freed House Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sell furniture, décor, and other items from the house. Jackson said that the money would go to the Freed House Association, which plans to donate its account to the cemetery committee.
The Freed House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Julius Freed, a German merchant who moved to Trenton after the Civil War, built the Italianate-style house in 1871 for his wife Henrietta. It is on the site of the former Odd Fellows Female Collegiate Institute, which was founded in 1852, occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, and later destroyed in a fire.
Julius and Henrietta had 13 children, 11 of whom survived to adulthood. Helen and Katherine Freed were the last to live in the home. When their brother Sylvane died in the 1960s, they willed the house to the City of Trenton to be used for civic gatherings with the stipulation that the city not charge citizens for use of the home.
Jackson said surviving Freed heirs have agreed to the home’s transfer.
Dr. Frederick Freed, one of Julius and Henrietta’s sons, brought Trenton world renown as the Teapot Capital of the World when he gifted the city his collection of veilleues theieres (nightlight teapots). He also purchased the lighted shelves that house the teapots in City Hall.