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Fentress County Chamber Gets Long-Awaited Renovations

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Fentress County Chamber Gets Long-Awaited Renovations

The building that houses the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce received significant updates for the first time in some 25 years.

The Old Fentress County Jail House is also home to the Fentress County Visitors Center and Ye Ole Jail Museum. Executive Director Jacob Rosenbaum said the County Commission appropriated $20,000 of American Rescue Plan funding to completely renovate chamber office space.

“It is important to maintain these old buildings and invest in them as funds allow so that people coming to do business at the chamber office or to find tourist information get an optimal experience,” Rosenbaum said.

Rosenbaum said the project gave the chamber offices all-new drywall and light fixtures and restored a fireplace in the Executive Director’s office. The projects that have been completed thus far have cost some $13,000, leaving $7,000 for continued work. Rosenbaum said new gutters and an HVAC system are the two projects most likely to start in 2024.

“We have two rooms above our offices that we use for storage that currently are not climate controlled,” Rosenbaum said. “We’ve got a little bit of extra money and we’re looking at how best to spend that, probably sometime this coming year.”

Built in 1898, the Jail House is on the National Registry of Historical Sites and has therefore been left untouched throughout these updates. Rosenbaum said the historical significance the building has to the county makes leaving it just as it was in the downtown Jamestown square generations ago the best plan for that part of the facility.

“The jail was in use from 1898 until the mid-1970s and occasionally, you’ll still see people, generally they’ve got a few years on them, who may have actually spent a night there in temperate use, so preserving the history of the building is very important,” Rosenbaum said.

He said much of the need for the renovation was simply due to the age of the building, but the new look will make for a more comfortable experience for those coming into town and looking for information on national parks, or hoping to patronize a local business.


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