By LANDON WOODROOF
Sales will begin this month for home sites in a new development off of Crockett Road near Wilson Pike.
Called Witherspoon, this subdivision encompasses 263 acres of what was previously the Holt property, having been owned by the Holt family for more than 200 years.
Fridrich & Clark Realty will handle the sales of the 153 home sites in Witherspoon, which range in size from a half-acre to three acres and in price from the $800,000s to over $2 million.
“There is variety throughout the plans, both in terms of site size and home size,” Mary Kocina, a Realtor with Fridrich & Clark, said in a statement. “That, combined with the beautiful setting that characterizes this part of Brentwood, will make Witherspoon a desirable location to a wide variety of home buyers. We are proud to be able to represent such an impressive development.”
The development, which is located between the Somerset and Raintree Forest subdivisions on Crockett Road, will feature a swimming pool and neighborhood clubhouse.
The property on which Witherspoon sits has a notable history both as the home of one of Brentwood’s oldest families and as a former working plantation.
John and Isabella Holt were the first of their family to settle in the area. Their son, Thomas Holt, who became a prosperous cotton planter in Louisiana, bought the Witherspoon land, and many more surrounding acres, in the 1800s, according to a 2014 “statement of expected finds” from a consulting firm hired to do historical research about the site. Around 1835, he built a summer home on the land for he and his wife, Julia Herbert Holt. The house, known historically as the Holtland/Wildwood home, eventually became the family’s primary residence and the central structure of a 1,200-acre plantation that was powered by 100 slaves and included a saw mill, a cotton gin and a grist mill.
Thomas Holt’s grandson, John Page Holt, lived at Holtland/Wildwood with his wife, O’Delle K. Holt, in the 1900s. Charles Witherspoon III, their nephew, grew up in the home as well, but closed it up in 1965 due to its long list of maintenance issues and moved to a different property on his family’s land.
He shared his memories of what it was like to grow up in the big old mansion, for a previous Home page story.
“I didn’t find it lonely at all,” he said. “I was able to entertain myself pretty much riding horses and ponies, riding bicycle. Playing around in the big woodpile in the back. I used to enjoy playing out there jumping from log to log, that kind of thing. I’d invent games and things to do to pass the time.”
Mr. Witherspoon’s uncle, John Holt, sold off almost 80 percent of the family’s property in 1984 for the construction of the Raintree Forest subdivision. He died that same year. Witherspoon’s aunt, O’Delle Holt, lived on a property on the family’s remaining land until her death in 1993.
She left part of the property to Witherspoon in the form of a life estate. Witherspoon decided to sell the land a few years back.
“I’m 87 and I’m not going to live another 50 years, I suppose,” Witherspoon said in the same article. “And I felt like I needed to consider doing something with the farm while I’m still able to make some judgments.”
Mike Ford Custom Builders ended up purchasing the land for $10.5 million. After after legal fees, settlements, taxes and closing costs that meant $3.9 million went to Mr. Witherspoon’s trust and $3.9 went to another beneficiary of O’Delle Holt’s will: Brentwood United Methodist Church.
Mr. Witherspoon will receive an annual payment from the trust for the rest of his life. Afterwards, any remaining balance in the trust will go to the City of Brentwood for the purpose of renaming the Brentwood Library the “John P. Holt Library” or building a new library, per the stipulations of Ms. Holt’s will.
“If the city doesn’t use the money for that purpose, it would go to BUMC,” City Attorney Roger Horner said, in a previous Home Page article.
Witherspoon is being developed by Ford Custom Classic Homes in partnership with CPS Land.
The Holtland/Wildwood home and 8.45 surrounding acres in Witherspoon have been purchased by a local family to restore and live in, according to previous reporting.