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Trenton board transfers Freed House to city judge

By Crystal Burns

City Judge Jeff Mueller and his wife Angela, both attorneys, are the new owners of the historic Freed House in Trenton.

The Trenton Board of Aldermen voted unanimously May 8 to transfer the deed from the city to the couple.

“Mr. Mueller has met the stipulations that we put forth to him,” said Alderman Bubba Abbott. “The house looks good right now. Mr. Mueller has helped us out a lot, and we appreciate it. We’re going to save this house. We’ve been trying to work on it for the last 10 years. I think it’s a good thing, and I’ll stand behind that 100 percent.”

Mueller said Friday that the mayor and board asked him to improve the exterior, fix three leaks, and do some plumbing and electrical work.

“They didn’t want the house to fall in,” he said.

Mueller said the leaks “were getting serious.”

“In another couple of years, it would’ve been hard to salvage [the house],” he said.

The couple plans to move their law office into the Freed House soon and will continue to work on the home.

“Maybe down the road, we’ll do something like a B-and-B or event center,” Mueller said.

The board stipulated that the owners must keep the Freed House sign and the historical marker in the front yard. Mueller was also required to pay the legal expenses for having the in perpetuity clause removed from the deed.

The couple lives in Rosedale or the former Holmes Place, which was built in 1850.

“We’re just into old houses,” Mueller said.

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.

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.

Housing, industrial boards

The board re-appointed Mike Wallsmith to the Trenton Housing Authority board. His term expires May 15, 2023.

The board confirmed the appointments of Eric Allen and Pat Riley, whose terms expire Dec. 22, 2023; Ed Norman, Bill Woods, and Amy Greer, whose terms expire Dec. 22, 2012; and Jonathan Estes, Bill Joyner, Charles Hill, and Jimmy Williams, whose terms expire Dec. 22, 2019. The board appointed Barney Cayson to fill the unexpired term of the late Robert Sidney Phelan. Cayson’s term expires Dec. 22, 2019.

Richard Ingram declined to stay on the board.

Mayor Ricky Jackson serves as a de facto member, and at the board’s request, said he would begin providing industrial board meeting minutes to aldermen. Abbott also requested more information about the Trenton Housing Authority board including its bylaws and meeting times. Meetings are open to the public.

Teapot Festival

Board members complimented the Teapot Festival Committee and all city employees for their work leading up to and during festival week April 29-May 5.

Alderman Billy Wade also thanked Police Chief Bill Cusson and the officers for citing those that have not purchased their city stickers. Alderman Rickey Graves thanked Terry Brown for keeping Shady Acres Park looking good.

The next city council meeting will be Tuesday, May 22, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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