Temperance Building doors remain closed

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By Cindy Simpson

Harriman’s most iconic landmark remains closed for the foreseable future, but it’s all part of the plan to return it to the distinction it once held.
The work to stabilize the Temperance  Building in the basement now make way for the next step, stabalizing the outer walls. The city project has received multiple grants administered from the Tennessee Historical Commission. The most recent preservation grant this year was $40,355.
“They have seen the work we have done on the preservation and want to see it completed,” said Dina Jackson, who works on marketing and writes grants for the city.
Jackson has also served on the Temperance Building committee, which is a group of individuals working to renovate the building.
Jackson said they are waiting on the contract to be signed on the grant so they can proceed with the project.
Until the project is completed, the historic building, which housed the offices of the East Tennessee Land Company, the company responsible for selling the land plots that would become the Prohibition Utopia that was Harriman’s origin, will remain closed to the public.
For years city officials and community members have talked about saving the aging structure, which had sagging floors and other structural issues common for such an old building. However, it wasn’t until recent years when successful fundraising and grant efforts really began to come to fruition.
Fundraising efforts included donations from organizations like the Cornstalk Heights Historical Community Association and many more.
Events included a Christmas tree show and auction as well as gala type events.
In addition to being a location for the East Tennessee Land Company, many other things have occupied the building, including offices of the American Temperance University.
More recently, state Sen. Ken Yager occupied an office there, and a museum with many Harriman artifacts is located in a back room of the building.