Sharon and John Dumont pose before the plaque denoting that the Commodore Inn is on the National Historic Register
When Michael and Kathy Dumont took on the restoration of the 1892 Hughes House in Clifton, Tennessee in 2016, they also began the process of listing the handsome structure on the National Register of Historic Places. Restoring the Queen Anne-Stick Style building took about three years; the National Register listing took two years of effort.
They do not regret a moment of either process. Once the restoration was complete, they brought in Michael's brother John and his wife Sharon to operate the house as a bed and breakfast inn, newly christened the Commodore Inn.
It's been a dream for Sharon and I to serve as innkeepers at this gorgeous property, says John Dumont. Our guests come from as far away as Stockholm, Sweden, and as near as Savannah, Tennessee, to stay with us and experience this special place. We are thrilled to now be among some of the most prestigious homes in America, as part of the National Register of Historic Places.
Once known as the Hughes House, the Commodore Inn as an important part of Clifton, Tennessee.
My wife and I have spent much of our careers restoring historic properties, Michael Dumont said, recalling that he first became enamored of historic architecture when he lived in Providence, Rhode Island. We saw the potential of Hughes House the first time we stepped through the doors. Restoring the house to its original grandeur is enough of a reward. Seeing the property placed on the National Historic Registry is the best kind of affirmation about our vision and the completed work.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 90,000 are individual listings.
The process of being placed on the National Register requires the homeowner to pull together the different pieces of how the building came to be: its history, materials used in construction, the house style, alterations, its place in the community and other elements of its story.
When John and Sharon Dumont made their way through the process, they got assistance from Sarah Elizabeth McLeod, Historic Preservation Planner at the South Central Tennessee Development District.
A homeowner can get help from their state preservation office, Demore says. In our experience, private home owners are always so happy to achieve listing of their homes, says Schmitt. They regard the National Register listing as a significant achievement that sets their property apart from others and proves that their property is historically significant and worthy of preservation.
Sharon Dumont is a case in point.
If you could see the reaction of the local community, you would see such expressions of gratitude, she says.