Reimagining the Property

March 08, 2021

The structure that we know as the Eugenia Williams House is the second iteration of the Williams family’s homes at the Lyons Bend property. The photo above, dating from the 1920s, shows the Williams family’s first home, where Eugenia lived with her father, Dr. David H. Williams, from 1924 until his death in 1929. This photo shows the property’s agrarian history, housing not only crop fields and a cultivated garden but also a vineyard and orchard that took advantage of the loamy soil found along the Tennessee River banks.

When Dr. Williams died and left Eugenia the property, she chose to reenvision its future, moving it away from its agrarian beginnings. By 1940, Eugenia had removed the cultivated fields in favor of grassy, rolling hills, more akin to the English countryside than a productive farm. Not only did this change require less care and upkeep, but it also offered her additional privacy. In addition, Eugenia razed the original house and other buildings opting instead for the larger home designed by John Fanz Staub that sits on the property today and reflects her taste and sensibilities. Some eagle-eyed viewers also might spot in the photo the trolly line that traversed Lyons Bend in the early 20th century.