By Brittany Hughes, Staff Writer
Clark and Juanita Shaw, owners of Brooks Shaw’s Old Country Store in Jackson, are preparing to open the newly renovated and relocated Neil House is for hosting its first event in May. The Shaws relocated the home in Casey Jones Village, where it will be a venue for parties, weddings and engagement dinners. The 173 year-old home, formerly located in Trenton, belonged to chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court Judge M.M. Neil.
Amy Campbell, senior education major, will be host a rehearsal dinner at the venue this month. The event will be the first held in the Neil House since it has been relocated to Jackson. Campbell feels no pressure in being the first event hosted at the new location, and attributes this confidence largely to the owner of the venue.
“I am not concerned whatsoever about being the first event in the newly renovated space,” Campbell said, “Clark Shaw, the owner, is a close family friend and I have utmost faith in him to pull it off.”
Campbell also spoke highly of the staff and their eagerness to help her create the engagement dinner she envisioned.
“The staff was very helpful in that they wanted me to come in to take a tour of the house and asked me a list of questions on how they could make this event perfect for me,” she said. “I felt like they would do whatever it took to create the vision I had for the event.”
However, the customer service isn’t the only thing that attracted Campbell to the building. The place in history it holds serves of some importance to her as well as her soon – to- be husband.
“It is my understanding that it was the tallest building in Trenton during the Civil War,” Campbell said. “When Nathan Bedford Forrest was leading the Confederate army in the Battle of Trenton, everyone in town came to the house to watch on the rooftop. If you go on the porch of the house, you can actually tell where they would climb to get on the roof. My fiancé’s great grandfather, whose name escapes me at the moment, rode next to (Forrest) in this battle, so it was a little piece of history important to his family.”
Campbell finds the history of the building intriguing.
“The Neil House is the perfect venue for me because I have a vintage-style wedding, and I love old antebellum homes. I also like the history associated with it.” Campbell said. “I would say the house appeals to the masses, however, it is (also) very appealing to those who have an appreciation for local history and architecture.”
Campbell over all is pleased in the Neil House and its renovations.
“I would definitely recommend the venue to anyone interested in having a rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony or reception,” Campbell said. “The home is absolutely beautiful in person; pictures do not do it justice.”