Nolensville was founded by William Nolen in 1797. The town grew quickly and was first incorporated in 1838 with specific town limits as well as identifying 23 numbered lots and 3 unnumbered lots with owners names associated with each lot. In the early 1800s, churches and schools for both blacks and whites were established which served the small agricultural community. Nolensville was heavily impacted by the Civil War. The town provided confederate soldiers, as well as fighting many skirmishes around the town. Following the war, the town continued to grow as a small, rural community in the northeast corner of Williamson County and in 1996, re-incorporated as the Town of Nolensville. A more detailed history follows:
Legend has it that William Nolen, along with his wife Sarah and five children, were traveling through middle Tennessee, in 1797, when his wagon broke down causing the family to delay traveling until the wagon was repaired. After inspecting the local terrain, William Nolen noted the area had an abundance of game and clean creek water. These resources convinced him and his family that they needed to travel no further. Regardless of the reasons, Nolen purchased property and sold lots for the town, which still bears his name, Nolensville. The first town lots were sold to George Barnes in 1819, 1/2 acre for $55.
Nolen and his family built their log cabin home and farm and lived there until his death when the land was sold. The property changed hands numerous times and the original log cabin was enclosed within a larger home ultimately known as the McCord House. The McCord home has been moved and preserved with parts of the original Nolen cabin exposed.
Ebenezer Methodist Church was first established in the early 1800’s as a two story frame building with the with the lower floor used for a school and the upper level for worship services. The current church was built around the original frame building in the mid-1900’s and improvements continue to be made. Concord Baptist Church began as a Primitive Baptist Church in a log structure in 1804. The Nolensville United Methodist Church which was organized in 1837 under the name Mount Olivet Methodist Episcopal Church was located on Williams Road. The current building was built in 1894 with its 75-foot steeple and beautiful stained glass windows and can be found in the Nolensville historic area.
Incorporation of the Town
On January 22, 1838 Nolensville's Plan of Incorporation passed the Tennessee Senate specifying corporate limits as well as identifying 23 numbered lots and 3 unnumbered lots with owners names associated with each lot.
The Civil War
Nolensville was a thriving agricultural community as the prosperous 1850's came to a close and the 1860's saw the beginnings of the Civil War. The Town was active in the war both in providing Confederate soldiers (April 1861) and fought skirmishes around the town as Union and Confederate troops made their way towards Murfreesboro where they collided in the Battle of Stone's River on December 31, 1862. As the war lengthened, Nolensville slipped further behind Union lines as the battles worked their way to the south. Two years later, the war finally ended and the Confederate soldiers were able to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. Post-war rebuilding was even more difficult because of the destruction of homes and property, the lack of crops and labor, and the worthless money and high taxes that had to be endured.
Following the war, Nolensville saw renewed growth with Nolensville Road being used as a major north-south road between Chapel Hill, TN to the South and Nashville to the North. A stagecoach ran between the two cities and Nolensville provided the King Hotel for passengers wishing to stop. Until the county and state took over the road, tollgates were operated about every three miles. The paved road through Nolensville began construction in 1927 with the bridges between Nolensville and Triune being built in 1932.
In 1867 the Nolensville Academy for white students began in a two-room brick school house. When the structure burned in 1901, elementary students went to Williams School on Rocky Fork Road until a new frame building was built behind the cemetery on Clovercroft Road. This served as the school for white students until a new school was built in 1937. When a newer school was built in 1972, the building became the town’s recreation center. The Nolensville Historic Society has preserved this building as a community center.
Black students used the lower half of the Ebenezer Methodist Church for their school until 1940-41 when the building was condemned. In 1943 a new school was completed on Rocky Fork Road and was used until 1966 when integration moved all students into the Nolensville Elementary School.
In the 1950s – 1980s there were several disasters that impacted Nolensville. The first was in January 1953 when fires destroyed five buildings and damaged three others before three fire departments brought the blazes under control with the use of Mill Creek as the only source of water. In December 1968, fire struck again with three buildings being destroyed. Fire engines from Franklin, Nashville, Smyrna, LaVergne, College Grove, and Brentwood came to the rescue, again using Mill Creek as the water source. 1979 saw Mill Creek flood into the Nolensville Trailer Park and homes north of Nolensville and in 1984 floodwaters covered the highway and lots from the Recreation Center to the Davidson County line, causing Nolensville Road to close. Storms with area tornado warnings dropped nine inches of rain on the countryside. Flooding at the Nolensville Elementary School causing 200 students to be transferred to the Nolensville United Methodist Church.
Nolensville Re-incorporated as a Town
As Nolensville grew over the years, it lost its official status as a town and became part of Williamson County. In 1996, Nolensville again applied to the State to be incorporated and was chartered by the Tennessee Legislature. At the time of incorporation, the area of the town was three (3) square miles and had a population of around 1800. In the years since then, Nolensville has annexed additional areas more than tripling the size of the town to nine and 1/2 (9.5) square miles and increasing the population to 5,861 at the last official census in 2010. Nolensville still has additional area in its urban growth boundary and will continue to grow as additional homes are built.
Historic Homes and Buildings
On both sides of Nolensville Road from North of Oldham Drive to the South as far as York/Williams Road are many structures from the 1800’s still in use as homes and/or stores. Within this area is a historic area which in the 1800’s was the center of Nolensville. Of note is the Waller Funeral Home which has been in existence since the 1876, the Nolensville Mill Company from 1890 to 1986 (today housing a store with Amish goods) and the Nolensville Co-Op Creamery from 1921-1957 which made butter known for its excellence throughout the area (now an antique store). The house north of the Cemetery today is a salon and the Home Place Bed & Breakfast built in 1820 is still in use today.