Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Doak House Museum

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Institution Name: Tusculum College
Original/Historic Place Name: Doak House
Location on Campus: Rt. 107
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1830original construction Doak, Samuel Witherspoon
Designer: probably Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival, Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: limestone
Walls: brick (hand-made)
Roof: wood shingle
ca. 1830-1974private residence
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (Museum Studies Program; museum education)

The Samuel Doak House was built in 1818 by Rev. Samuel Doak, who with his son, Rev. Samuel W. Doak, founded Tusculum Academy on the site the same year. Doak had arrived in northeastern Tennessee in 1777 and was the region's first permanent minister. (In 1780, he preached to the Overmountain Men before they left East Tennessee to defeat the British at King's Mountain, SC.) The Tusculum Academy was the second school founded by Doak in the frontier lands of eastern Tennessee. The first, fifteen miles east, was chartered as St. Martin's Academy in 1784; it later became Washington College. Tusculum Academy, the presbyterian school begun at the site, developed into Tusculum College in 1844, and through merger with a sister institution, Greeneville College, in 1868 has been recognized by state and national agencies as the "Oldest College In Tennessee - 1794."

The house served as the home of Rev. Samuel W. Doak (President of Tusculum Academy and Tusculum College from 1818 to 1864) until his death in 1864. The home was lived in by family members until 1974, when it was given to Tusculum College. In 1975 it underwent initial restoration by the Greene County Heritage Trust. Having been used for various purposes in the following years, it came under the operation of the College's new Museum Studies Program in 1994.


Fuhrmann, Joseph T. The Life and Times of Tusculum College. Kingsport, TN: Arcata Graphics, 1986.

Ragan, Allen. A History of Tusculum College, 1794-1944. Bristol, TN: King Printing, 1945.

Reiners, John R. Tusculum College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1980.

Harper, Herbert L. Samuel Doak House [Tusculum College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/ National Park Service, 1975.

Sexton, Donal J., Jr., and Myron J. Smith Jr. Glimpses of Tusculum College--A Pictorial History. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing, 1994.

Tusculum College. Historic American Buildings Survey report and photographs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, [n.d.].


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Last update: November 2006